Takayama is a city in Gifu Prefecture, which I think quite a lot of you are familiar with because is recently made known to the world by anime “Your Name”. There are a few other areas name Takayama in Japan, so this traditional city is usually referred to as Hida-Takayama (飛騨高山).

As the kanji of the name suggests, this city is made of lots of… high mountains.

 

Matsuri No Mori (Art & Festa Forest)

We stopped by Matsuri No Mori, a museum of different interests, workshop areas and a souvenir shop combined.

Senbei Making

If you are a fan of the traditional Japanese snack – senbei (rice crackers), you can experience  hand-baking your own senbei!

You will be given a thin metal tong and a mitten to “kiap” your senbei haha. And then you will bake it in the traditional kamado oven, flipping it over on every 3 counts until it expands into twice the size!

 

There’s a fee for the workshop: 300 yen for 5 pieces and 600 yen for 10 pieces. I think it is too cheap!! Haha.

Sounds easy but it’s actually extremely tough to make even, flat senbei that doesn’t bend all over the sides, or crack during the pressing.

Mine. See how different it is from those for sale?

Of course, freshly baked senbei is extra yummy!

 

Festa Forest

Have you heard of the Takayama Festival (高山祭, Takayama Matsuri)? It is ranked as one of Japan’s three most beautiful festivals alongside Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri and the Chichibu Yomatsuri in Saitama. The spring festival is happening soon, on 14 & 15th of April every year!

At this museum, you can see life-size floats that is being paraded during the festival, and watch the Kakakuri Doll performance.

Gorgeous, golden-lacquered folding screens crafted by traditional artisans, be blown away by how amazingly intricate the designs are!

A Kakakuri doll on display. They are sophisticated mechanical dolls that can move and dance, you can try manipulating it using the strings here!

Miniature floats on display. Omg and I thought the actual floats are amazing, I wonder how long it takes for one to be completed!

At the main hall, you can see timed performances of the Kakakuri dolls on the life-size floats. I posted a few videos on my IG story. One doll can even do face-changing!

Another beautifully designed float.

Super realistic dolls.

Take a photo with the floats holding a Sarubobo, a faceless doll that is deemed to be a lucky charm against evil exclusive to Hida-Takayama area. You will see lots and lots of it here in Takayama!

 

Drive Station Itakura(ドライブステーション板蔵)

Lunch was at Itakura Ramen with rather clear soup based, a Takayama-style ramen that was seen eaten by the main character in Your Name.

Quite a huge canteen-style ramen shop!

Our set comes with side dishes and… *gasp* a bowl of rice! Just like the Miso Nikomi Udon in Nagoya, the noodles are always served with rice (double carbo!) and I always feel so bad that I couldn’t finish it T_T (it was already served before I could tell them to do without rice).

^^

Shinhotaka Ropeway 新穂高ロープウェイ

If you come to Takayama, you can’t miss out Shinhotaka at Oku-Hida.

The scenery gradually turn monochrome as the entire mountainous town is covered in snow.

Shinhotaka Ropeway is also Japan’s only double-decker ropeway!

View on the way up! Slowly the monochrome scene reveals vivid colors in shades of blue and green. It was spectacular.

Still going up up up!

We arrived at the upper station, now 2156m above sea level. Present to you, Japan’s highest point post box haha. You are quite literally sending a your wishes from above if you post a letter here.

The weather was -3°C, which is cosidered pretty warm for this time of the year. It was apparently minus 15 or something the year before.

Observation deck overlooking powdery white mountains.

enjoy the Northen Alps in Japan.

This is a mini Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route haha. We didn’t get to visit Tateyama this trip but I guess I could imagine how it is like!

Somebody made these little snow buddies. ^^

Gold-leaf soft cream at the ropeway station cafe!!

And super yummy looking sweet treat. I don’t know why but the colder the weather/location, the more popular the ice cream shops are. Haha.

The station master gifted each of us a Sarubobo charm called the “Kizuna Sarubobo” – the bonding charm, as a tiny piece of wire which the ropeway is made of is attached to the charm!! It is to signify an unbreakable bond, also to testify how incredible strong and safe the ropeways are! ^^

We are back down the base and you can also get real onsen tamago here.

One last photo before we headed to our accommodation of the night.

Hida Hotel Plaza

This time around it’s tatami room!

Banquet dinner again.

Spot that Sarubobo!

Every night it was kaiseki-style, so we get to enjoy different local dishes in small portions.

Legit Hida beef! If you love beef, it would be a shame if you go home without savoring some.

 

 

Hie Shrine

The next day, we made a quick visit to Hie Shrine in Gifu, which was said to be used as the model for the Miyamizu Shrine in the anime Your Name in its fictional town called Itomori.

From the anime! Remember the scene where Mitsuha performs a Japanese traditional dance that was ever so mesmerizing?

 

This shrine is used for Takayama Festival, so I’m sure it’s a powerful spot for the locals. ^^

And look at that tree…I’m always so in awe so see the ancient trees in shrines… they are so… celestial. There’s something truly magical in them.

Perspective.

 

That’s all for today! Next up it is Gokayama at Toyama prefecture.

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