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Full Day Takayama & Shirakawa-go Tour
This full day tour is led by a local guide who will take you to the beautifully preserved ancient town of Takayama, and the spellbinding UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go village, before returning to Takayama.
The day begins at the local Miyagawa Market, located along the Miyagawa River in Takayama’s old town. Here you can explore stalls of local crafts and farm products, such as vegetables, pickles and flowers. After visiting the market and picking up some souvenirs, you will go for a lovely walk in the San-machi Suji district, the traditional home of Takayama merchants and sake brewers, whose inns, shops and taverns have been preserved in the same way for over 200 years.
Next, you will visit Takayama Jinya, a local government office officially in use until 1969. Now it is open to the public as a museum, and you can look around the administrative rooms, offices, kitchens, courtroom and storehouses. The building was used by the Tokugawa Shogunate from 1962, when the Hida region was under their control. The morning will end at a sake brewery, where you can enjoy Japan’s national drink. The sake is particularly famous in Takayama because of the clear water in its natural surrounding with which it is made.
The afternoon will be spend in the Shirakawa-go region, where you guide will show you around this historic and charming village, famous for its traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Gassho-zukuri translates as ‘praying hands’ because of the steep thatched roofs of the farmhouses, which resembles hands of Buddhist monks in prayer. The houses, some of which are over 250 years old, were designed in this way to withstand the heavy snow that commonly falls in the area. At the end of this tour, you will return to Takayama.
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For those wanting to get under the skin of Japan and explore the country in a bit of depth, this journey takes in the best of both urban and rural Japan without rushing. Explore Tokyo, Kyoto and Mt Fuji, as well as coastal Kanazawa and historic Takayama.