Guide To Takayama, Shirakawa-Go & Kanazawa

Guide To Takayama, Shirakawa-Go & Kanazawa

Guide To Takayama, Shirakawa-Go & Kanazawa

After doing the Tokyo-Kyoto-Osaka route on my first visit to Japan earlier this year, I wanted to try something a bit more off-the-beaten-path for my second trip to the country. I heard great things here and there about Shirakawa-go, Takayama and Kanazawa and was excited to learn that these three places were all in the same region of Japan, along a well serviced route from both Tokyo and Osaka-Kyoto. Takayama, Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa is a great itinerary to consider as it offers a great mix of sights and foods to appeal to a wide audience whilst being undiscovered enough to not feel like everybody’s here during your visit.

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How To Get There


The small-scale city of Takayama is the gateway to the mountainous Hida region of Japan. Its main attractions can be reached within 30 minutes or less by foot, making it an extremely easy place to explore.

Things to do

Takayama Old Town

Takayama’s old town is an area of three streets lined with quaint souvenir shops, food stalls and sake breweries. It’s an easy walk from the station and the perfect place to try local foods or pick up local souvenirs. The sarubobo doll is a popular keepsake.

Try the local specialties

Takayama is home to a host of local delights that are an absolute must-try when visiting. Don’t leave without giving the following a go.

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Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

Those who love a walk under the crisp morning air should head to Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine (next to the Festival Floats Hall) which is the start of a walking course that winds past small shrines and temples with even a glimpse of the Alps on a clear day.

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The famed thatch-roof village of Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO World Heritage Site nestled amongst the mountains. It is a 50 minute bus ride from Takayama and has plenty of things to see and do to keep you occupied for at least half a day. Depending on your preference, a visit to Shirakawa-go can be done as either a day trip or overnight stay.

Things to do

How long to spend here

There are two options for Shirakawa-go visitors – either take the bus on a day trip or book one of the farmhouses to stay overnight in. Note the maximum time you can stay at any farmhouse in the town is one night.

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If you love Kyoto, you’ll love Kanazawa – a city endearingly known as ‘Little Kyoto’ for its abundance of temples, shrines, gardens, preserved Geisha district and amazing seafood. With direct bullet train access from major cities, Kanazawa is now more accessible than ever.

Things to do

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How long to spend here

To see the main sights I would recommend at least 1-2 days in the area. To take it easy and explore beyond the tourist choices, consider a little longer.

Connie Cao,