Photo Diary: Exploring Takayama & Shirakawa-go in Central Japan!

In the mountains of the Hida region in central Japan, a four hour train ride from Tokyo, lies the beautifully preserved town of Takayama. Known for its traditional lure, the city is a great Japanese getaway from the crowds of the big cities. Takayama is also the the perfect base for a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Shirakawa-go. It is one of the most famous sites in the region, with its trademark Gassho-zukuri thatched-roof farmhouses, preserving centuries of culture and history in a village so small that it residents are shuttled 45 minutes to the next largest town for high school.   

The streets of Takayama

The streets of Takayama

One of the main streets in the town - lined with restaurants and small shops!

One of the main streets in the town - lined with restaurants and small shops!

October in Takayama, as well as most of central Japan, bring beautiful foliage

October in Takayama, as well as most of central Japan, bring beautiful foliage

Delicious ramen and tempura restaurants at every corner!

Delicious ramen and tempura restaurants at every corner!

Takayama's famous red bridge linking the modern side of town to the traditionally preserved districts

Takayama's famous red bridge linking the modern side of town to the traditionally preserved districts

The beginning of the preserved districts of Takayama

The beginning of the preserved districts of Takayama

The traditional homes and stores of Takayama all share a distinct brown color and regional architecture

The traditional homes and stores of Takayama all share a distinct brown color and regional architecture

Fall in Takayama

Fall in Takayama

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View of Takayam from a local hotel balcony

View of Takayam from a local hotel balcony

View of Shirakawa-go from above

View of Shirakawa-go from above

The preserved and historically-protected town is a UNESCO World Heritage site

The preserved and historically-protected town is a UNESCO World Heritage site

After arriving in Shirakawa-go by car, a suspension walking bridge brings you across the river into the village

After arriving in Shirakawa-go by car, a suspension walking bridge brings you across the river into the village

Shirakawa-go is known for its gassho style farmhouses. Gassho meas "hands in prayer"

Shirakawa-go is known for its gassho style farmhouses. Gassho meas "hands in prayer"

The gassho-style houses all have a signature steep thatched roof, some as old as 250 years! 

The gassho-style houses all have a signature steep thatched roof, some as old as 250 years! 

The steep shape of the roof ensure snow can properly melt after the long winter

The steep shape of the roof ensure snow can properly melt after the long winter

The Ogimachi village of Shirakawa-go can be toured on foot in thirty minutes

The Ogimachi village of Shirakawa-go can be toured on foot in thirty minutes

Souvenir shops and small food stands line the main street of the village

Souvenir shops and small food stands line the main street of the village

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The perfect place to experience a different side of Japan

The perfect place to experience a different side of Japan