In-Focus is a series which tells the story of a place via photos creating a virtual tour using some of my favourite photos of that area. All photos are my own and have come from both my phone (Samsung Galaxy S4) and my DSLR (Canon EOS 600D) check out my specs here.
Takayama is a destination that is a little bit more removed from the usual tourist circuit, than the likes of Kyoto or Nara but still sees many tourists moving through the city.
Situated in the Japanese Alps in the Chubu region, Takayama’s old town district has been beautifully preserved and presents many beautiful old-fashioned streets to walk down. Much like Kyoto Takayama is full of feudal architecture and streets, but feels much less touristy and much more homely.
The old town area was brimmed full of wooden houses and shops that highlight the rich history of Japan. The streets had been beautifully preserved making walking around these streets highly enjoyable.
In old town you have the opportunity to visit some of the classical Japanese houses. Although the houses open to the public where originally owned by merchants and other wealthy Japanese citizens of the time they highlighting some of the grandeur of the feudal era.
As you might expect Sake is a big deal in Japan, with it being the countries national drink it’s an important liqueur. In Takayama they indeed take this drink very seriously and with several distilleries and sake houses in the city it is easy to see why. A Sake house is an ideal place to unwind in the evening as you drink your way through the vast catalogue of different drinks.
Timing is everything and for my trip to Japan I got incredibly lucky managing to get over there during the August festival, which meant in Takayama an explosive fireworks festival which can only be described as men holding explosives whilst being doused in burning phosphorus. It was quite the sight to behold, and something unique as in all the years of firework displays I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Shirakawa-go is a historic village a little way out of the city of Takayama which preserves a traditional village. The village is fascinating as you get to walk around and admire these beautifully designed houses known as Gasshō-zukuri ”prayer-hands construction” in reference to their steep swooping rooves. The village is situated in such a beautiful area of Japan it’s impossible to not fall in love with the wonderful scenery.
As you might expect the village is very rural and allows for many beautiful vistas which change dramatically throughout the year making this an all around tourist attraction. The Gasshō-zukuri play a major part in the tour and exploring these vast houses is a treat in itself.