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Getting to Takayama





Takayama City
Takayama City

Hida is located in Gifu Prefecture, almost in the center of the Japanese archipelago.
Here, narrow valleys stretch between countless steep mountains, dotted with villages.
One of the widest basins here is the Takayama Basin. A peculiarity of the climate is the vast difference in temperature between night and day during the winter. With a heavy snowfall, the winter is extremely cold, and at its coldest, temperatures have been known to reach 15 degrees below freezing. On summer days, the dazzling sunlight is often potent, but because the humidity is low, you can savor a sense of refreshment, and nights are so cool that you cannot do without a futon. There are beautiful views of nature everywhere, with mountains in the 3,000-meter class, Norikuradake, Hotakadake, and Yarigatake to the east, Hakusan to the West, and Ontakesan to the south.


Kanamori Nagachika
Kanamori Nagachika
Takayama Castle
Takayama Castle

In Hida, there are a great deal of historic ruins from the Jomon period (about 8,000 years ago), objects opening culture from the ancient past to our imagination.
About 1,350 years ago, it was decided by Taika reformers that a tax would be paid. Because Hida is in the mountains and there was little of the rice, grains, and textiles used to pay this tax, it was decided instead that villagers would come to the capital to work for 250 to 300 days of the year. They worked as carpenters and built palaces, gates, and temples in the capital. Around 100 artisans from Hida came and went, and by the hands of these men, magnificent buildings were finished. However, it is said that some artisans fled this difficult work. In terms of history, among the names of those who built famous temples, those of Hida’s artisans are seen in great numbers. Artisans returned to Hida and used these skills to build Hida’s ancient temples like a Sanbutuji Temple, which, however, does not exist today but ruins. The techniques of Hida’s artisans lives on even now in this area in traditional arts and crafts.
At the end of the Muromachi period (about 450 years ago), Takayama Geki built a castle on Tenjinyama (now called Shiroyama, or ‘castle mountain’). For this reason, the area near Takayama Geki’s castle came to be and continues to be called ‘Takayama.’
In 1585, Kanamori Nagachika conquered Hida and put a lot of effort into reviving the culture of the castle, its town, and its temples. This Kanamori period continued for 107 years through 6 rulers.
When the Kanamori period ended, Hida came under the direct control of the Tokugawa shogunate. Takayama Castle, destroyed in 1695, was designated as a prefectural historical landmark, and the ‘Site of Takayama Castle’ is now Shiroyama Park. The period from the end of the Kanamori period to the end of the Tokugawa shogunate of Edo (Tokyo) is called the Edo period (1603 to 1867).  During this period, Takayama was a vassal state of the Tokugawa shogunate. It was a period that witnessed a great burgeoning of Japanese culture, which has been passed down through the centuries and is still evident in Takayama today. The period of direct control by the Shogunate lasted 177 years and 25 local governors, lasting through the myriad changes of the Meiji Restoration (1868) and, in Showa 11 (1936), the area became Takayama City. The city then merged with several towns and villages, and in Heisei 17 (2005) with nine other neighboring towns and villages, thus becoming a city with an area as large as Tokyo.
In recent years, the city has been working to preserve the old townscapes and create a comfortable environment for its elderly and disabled citizens, thus promoting the creation of a barrier-free town under the catchphrase ‘A town comfortable to live in is a town comfortable to travel in.’ Since 2001, the city has been working to make the lives of international tourists easier by providing brochures, information on the Internet, and maps and signs. The objective of these initiatives is to provide reliable reference materials that will allow everyone to enjoy the town and its historical and traditional attractions.