Traveling back in time for six days to see the history of Japan

Takayama Area

There are places in Japan where Japan's natural beauty is still retained. There are nature-rich villages where farmers lived, vibrant towns where people spent their daily lives, castles where you can feel the presence of the samurais who were there long ago, and shrines and temples that people of faith attended. Spend six days discovering traces of old Japanese history and culture.

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Day 1 - Hida Takayama

Tokyo -- <JR Tokaido Shinkansen> -- Nagoya Station -- <JR Takayama Main Line Limited Express 145 mins.> -- Takayama -- 10 mins. by bus -- [Hida Folk Village] -- <10 mins. by bus> -- [Festa Forest] -- [Chanoyu-no-mori] -- <10 mins. by bus> -- Takayama

Hida Folk Village

Festa Forest

Take the bus again to get to “Festa Forest”, the first underground dome in Japan where you can enjoy beautifully decorated “yatai” floats and the largest drum in the world. There is also a display of highly intricate clockwork dolls. In the adjacent “Chanoyu-no-mori”, national treasure-class ceramics are on exhibit. You can drink tea from a cup made by a master craftsman.

Day 2 - Shirakawa-go

Takayama -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Jinya-mae Morning Market] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- Takayama Station -- <50 mins. by bus> -- [Shirakawa-go]

Hida Takayama

Jinya Asaichi Morning Market

At this market, fresh vegetables, fruit, flowers and craft articles are sold by local people. After shopping, let’s take a stroll through the old town streets.
“Takayama Jinya”, a restored local agency from the Edo period, is something that you must see. Around 60 similar facilities existed throughout Japan in the Edo period (1603-1867); however, this is the only one that still looks today as it did back in those days.


Day 3 - Kanazawa

Shirakawa-go -- <90 mins. by bus> -- Kanazawa -- <15 mins. by bus> -- Kenrokuen Shita -- [Kenrokuen Garden] -- 7 mins. by walk -- [21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa] -- <10 mins. by walk> -- [Kanazawa Castle] -- -<15 mins. by walk> -- [Nagamachi Bukeyashiki-ato] -- <3 mins. by walk> -- [f] -- <20 mins. by walk> -- Kanazawa

Kenrokuen Garden

21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa

We also recommend a visit to the nearby “21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa”, which attracts artists from all over the world. The building itself is worth seeing for its architectural merit.

Kanazawa Castle

The Kanazawa Castle, located next to the Kenrokuen Garden, is a reconstruction of the original that was built in the latter half of the 16th century. It is one of the largest and greatest wooden castles built since the 19th century. A park surrounds the castle, offering wonderful scenery in the cherry blossom season as well as in the snows of winter. The castle is sometimes lit up at night depending on the season, so it would be worth an evening visit, too.

Nagamachi Bukeyashiki-ato (ruins of old samurai residences)

As you walk among the clay walls, artificial ditches and gates, you half-expect samurai to suddenly appear. Some residences are open to the public.

Nagamachi Yuzen Kan

You could also pop into the Nagamachi Yuzen Kan where there are demonstrations on a type of dyeing called Kaga Yuzen and exhibitions of ceramics and antiques. Kaga Yuzen is
a dyeing method that was developed in Kanazawa in the late seventeenth century. It is characterized by its realistic painterly images.

Kaga cuisine

Let’s try the unique local Japanese food called “Kaga cuisine”. Kanazawa faces the Japan Sea and offers tasty seafood such as shrimp and crab. The sushi called “oshizushi”, which is different from the sushi found in Tokyo, and colorful confectionaries are also characteristic of the area.

Day 4 - Kyoto

Kanazawa -- <10 mins. by bus> -- [Higashi Chaya-machi] -- <10 mins. by bus> -- Kanazawa -- <JR Limited Express Thunderbird 135 mins.> -- Kyoto -- <30 mins. by bus> -- [Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art] -- <13 mins. by bus> -- [Kyoto Gion Yasaka Hall]

Higashi Chaya-machi

Check out. Buy some souvenirs at “Higashi Chaya-machi”, a shopping district since the Edo period, or at the shopping area in Owari-cho town, and then go to JR Kanazawa Station. Confectionaries or stunning craft products covered with gold leaf are specialties here.

Museum of Kyoto

Learn about the history and culture of Kyoto at the “Museum of Kyoto” (2-minute walk from the Sakaimachi Oike bus stop on the city bus route). The annex is a building of the former Kyoto branch of the Bank of Japan, which is an important national cultural property.

Kyoto Gion Yasaka Hall

At night, experience the classic performing arts at Gion Corner in the Kyoto Gion Yasaka Hall. Performances of 7 art forms including tea ceremony, flower arrangement, koto, gagaku (ancient court music), bunraku puppet plays, kyogen (traditional short comedic drama) and mai (traditional dance) are given in a condensed form.

Day 5 - Kyoto

Hankyu Kawaramachi -- <30 mins. by walk->-Maruyama Park -- [Yasaka-jinja Shrine] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Kodai-ji Temple] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Kiyomizu-dera Temple] -- Gojozaka -- <25 mins. by bus> -- Ginkakuji-mae -- <8 mins. by walk> -- [Ginkaku-ji Temple] -- <by walk> -- [Tetsugaku-no-michi (Philosopher's Walk)] -- [Otoyo-jinja Shrine] -- [Nanzen-ji Temple] -- <5 mins. by walk> -- [Heian-jingu Shrine] -- <10 mins. by bus> -- Kawara Machi -- [Shijo Kawara Machi] -- <8 mins. by walk> -- [Nishiki Koji Street]

Yasaka-jinja Shrine

Enjoy areas of green verdure such as the Maruyama Park and head to the nearby Yasaka-jinja Shrine. Yasaka-jinja Shrine is a very old shrine that is said to have been built in 656, and is affectionately referred to as “Gion-san” by the local people. This shrine becomes a hub of activity during the Gion Festival.

Kodai-ji Temple

The Kodai-ji Temple has a tea ceremony room designed by the famous tea master Sen-no Rikyu and a wonderful garden resplendent with flowers. It is lit up in spring and autumn, so it is well worth an evening visit, too.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple

The temple precinct covers about 130,000 square meters and the view from the hondo (main hall) standing on the cliffs is breath-taking.
There are many souvenir shops and restaurants around the temple, so it’s a good idea to plan on having lunch there.

Ginkaku-ji Temple

A temple built as a villa by the fifteenth-century Shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate Yoshimasa Ashikaga. It is known for its simple beauty that reflects Lord Yoshimasa’s sense of aesthetics. The moss garden is also a wonderful sight.


Take a leisurely walk along “Tetsugaku-no-michi” next to the canal, which is particularly beautiful during the cherry blossom and autumn seasons.

Ootoyo-jinjya Shrine

Nanzen-ji Temple

This is a Zen Buddhist temple where you can see the beautiful “fusuma-e” paintings on sliding-door panels painted by artists of the Kano school. The extensive gardens are particularly splendid during the season of red leaves.

Heian-jingu Shrine


The most popular entertainment district in Kyoto. There are many first-class department stores in Kawara-machi town.

Nishiki-koji Street

A walk down Nishiki-koji Street, known as the kitchen of Kyoto, 400m shopping street where there are many shops specializing in foodstuff, or Shinkyogoku Street where many souvenir shops stand side by side, is also recommended.

Day 6

Kyoto -- <JR Tokaido Shinkansen (140 mins.)> -- Tokyo