Sanno-machi Historic District
A quaint streetscape lined with old merchant houses
(c) TakenobuSuzukiTakayama City, Gifu Prefecture, which is roughly in the center of the Japanese archipelago, is a beautiful castle town surrounded by mountains in every direction. It developed as a merchant town nurturing a unique culture in the 1600s, during the Edo Period. The Old Town, consisting of three rows of buildings, is also referred to as "small Kyoto in Hida" due to its quaint atmosphere. It is awarded three stars in the Michelin Travel Guide.
Canals flow under the eaves of merchant houses with latticed bay windows, and there are rows of large warehouses at the back. Entrances to sake brewing houses are decorated with a ball of cedar leaves to show that the season's new sake is available, recreating the atmosphere of a time when the place was a castle town.
On the banks of Miyagawa River and in the plaza in front of the jinya near the Old Town (Takayama Jinya was the building in which the regional administration was carried out during the Edo Period (1603-1868) and is the only remaining Edo-period jinya in Japan), a morning market opens every day from 6:00 am till around noon. There are various products on sale, including fresh vegetables, fruits, and folk-art products. This is one of the few morning markets in Japan that open 365 days a year, and it is a popular tourist spot. Takayama Festival is the main event of the city, and it is held in spring and fall. It is one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan, and the city is crowded with many tourists during the festival period.
Address: Kami-Sannnochi, Takayama City, Gifu
Phone: 0577-32-5328 (Sightseeing Department, Takayama City)
Directions: Train: 10 minutes on foot from Takayama Station, which is on the JR Takayama Line (2 hours 20 minutes from Nagoya)
Car: 30 minutes from Hida-Kiyomi Interchange on the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway