Last Updated: Nov 12, 2023

Heavenly Hida-Takayama

A Famed Part of Gifu Prefecture

Donny Kimball
11 min readNov 12, 2023

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Despite using this picture of Nakabashi Bridge and the Miyagawa River for years and having visited Takayama in 2012, I somehow never got around to covering Hida-Takayama and the traditional Japanese Hida-no-Sato folk village until now.
This story was originally published on donnykimball.com and has been syndicated here on Medium

Recently when I was slowly making my way back to Tokyo from Komatsu up in Ishikawa Prefecture, I had the shocking revelation that I’ve yet to feature the famous town of Hida-Takayama on this blog. Despite using a photo of the village’s iconic Nakabashi Bridge as my header image for close to a decade now, I somehow neglected to write about Hida-Takayama. While I could, of course, explain away my oversight, I doubt you’re interested in hearing the excuse that my visit predated my time as a content creator. So, without further ado, allow me to rectify my mistake and introduce you to one of the top spots in central Japan.

Frankly speaking, many of you are likely already aware of Hida-Takayama by now. In recent years, the town and its traditional buildings have skyrocketed in popularity with international tourists. All things considered, one could say that Hida-Takayama easily ranks as the prime candidate for travelers wishing to add a rural element into their itineraries. Thus, given that so many people come to Hida-Takayama for its beautifully preserved buildings and its historic character, it’s really hard to say that it is a “hidden gem” anymore like when I first visited.

Historically, Hida-Takayama was one of a few places that were under the direct control of the Tokugawa shogunate during the Edo period (1603–1868). Thanks to the region’s dense forests, this portion of the country was considered to be one of Japan’s most economically important places. The high quality of the timber and other resources from this natural environment attracted many master craftsmen over the years and even now Hida-Takayama’s traditional crafts are considered to be top tier all throughout Japan. As you’ll see in a later section, the town also offers ample opportunities to try your hand at these crafts too.

One thing I do need to note though is that Hida-Takayama really has grown to become one of Japan’s most popular semi-off-the-beaten-path locations. Thus, you really are going to need to go out of your way to avoid the crowds. One suggestion might be to overnight in one of Hida-Takayama’s traditional ryokans. By lodging in one of these Japanese-style inns, you can get an early start on the day and hopefully…

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Donny Kimball

I'm a travel writer and freelance digital marketer who blogs about the sides of Japan that you can't find in the mainstream media. https://donnykimball.com/