Thursday, September 13, 2007

Takayama old town

Takayama (高山市) is a city located in Gifu, Japan. The kanji characters (for those who knows chinese) means high mountain city. It has a population of close to 100,000.
Takayama is best known for its in carpentry skill. In fact, the history of the town begins with its carpenters. They are said to have worked on the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and on many of the temples in Kyoto. That the reason why the town is also fondly referred to as 'little Kyoto'. Its culture took shape due to the high altitude and separation from other areas of Japan which kept the area very isolated in ancient times. This allows Takayama to develop its own culture.

The Miyakawa River separates the new and the old town of Takayama.
The young (new) and the old...
Walking along the old town, met this cute baby with grandma. They were so friendly especially the baby and I just couldn't resist taking the snap. When sorting through the pictures, thought this is so appropriate describing Takayama.

San-machi Suji

In Takayama, one finds old streets and buildings that are untouched by the passage of time. This district called San-machi Suji with the traditional home of Takayama merchants and sake brewers, has been preserved in almost exactly the same state as 200 or 300 years ago.


This is the center of the old town of Takayama and is still a living part of the city. It retains most of its old buildings in immaculate condition and has a lovely quaint atmosphere.

The three main streets of Sanno-machi Suji are Ichino-machi, Nino-machi and San-machi. They are narrow and lined with stores selling traditional wares and craftsmen's workshops. The buildings themselves are every bit as interesting as the items on display. Fine restaurants serving local delicacies such as soba noodles, hida beef and a number of family-run ryokans which trace their history back many generations can be found nestled in these old buildings.

You can explore Takayama's old town on foot or getting pulled through the streets on a rickshaw. A 30 minute tour for two persons costs around 6000 Yen.

We preferred to exercise our leg muscles and with walking we get to stop by interesting stores all along the way. So much to see!


Houmeitaigumi Preservation Area

This area is designated as a 'Nationally important historical building preservation area'.

Kusakabe Heritage House

The Kusakabe Heritage House (Kusakabe Mingeikan) is one of the oldest of several common homes in Takayama, that are open to the public. Its former residents, the Kusakabe family, used to be successful money lenders.

Hida Kokubunji Temple

This is the oldest temple in Takayama, situated just 5 minutes walk from the train station. It was originally built in 746 but the original temple was burnt down. The three-storied pagoda was built in 1821 and standing by it is a ginkgo tree that is reputed to be 1,200 years old. The 1,200 years old tree stands as high as the pagoda about 10-15 metres away.

Its massive trunk measures more than 2 metres in diameter.


Entrance to the Hachiman Shrine Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine (Sakurayama Hachimangu), another of the many temples in Takayama.



Marvelled at the amazing wood craftsmanship...

An inner shrine of the temple

A wishing tree. Paper written with wishes and prayers are tied to the tree and the surrounding fence.
A lady standing in front of a temple deep in prayers.

A lacquer-ware store

A wood craft store

With a set of unique furniture
A workshop for plastic food art. Like those we see at restaurants' window display.

Miso store

One of the many many souvenir's store found in town.

Street food of Takayama

K and Jo

5 comments:

DonDon said...

wow...great pictures!! the baby pic with the grandma..so cute

Precious Pea said...

Really nice picture you got there....so much fun you had. What camera are you using? Very very nice and clear pictures.

Anonymous said...

Amazing woodworks. The Japanese are such dedicated perfectionists in the old arts, and killer innovative in the new stuff e.g. technology.

Yup, the kid is incredibly cute.

Cheers//frank

Terri @ hungerhunger said...

tt baby is a weapon!her eyes can talk, n she's got this precocious face. i could steal her!great shot too.

The Drool Team said...

Don & terri: Knew tt baby would steal d show...

pp: Tq and yes, for one whole day we had so much fun and food! Canon, a recent b'day present from my wonderful hubby, K. Still struggling with it and some shot are still not very good as u will see in the next post.

Frank: U should have seen K he was drooling more over the wood crafts than d food.