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About 4 hours away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo city exists a peaceful and historic city with beautifully preserved houses dating from the Edo Period (1600-1868), and this city is known as Takayama.

If you happen to be making a trip to Takayama in the near future, be sure to add these to your to-do list. (And yes! Royal Brunei Airlines (RB) flies direct to Tokyo!)

#1. Ryokan Experience

ryokan is a type of traditional Japanese inn that typically features tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner.

If you don’t have a stringent budget, I’d really suggest staying at a ryokan when you’re in Takayama. While the price can be real steep, the experience you get out of it makes everything worth it. I have been to Takayama twice, and stayed at Oyado Koto no Yume both of the times. This little ryokan is less than 5 minutes’ walk away from the train station, so is a good choice for those travelling with heavy luggages, as it is not exactly easy to find public transportation in the area.

(Photos: @wandergirleats)

Although going to a public bath is one of the must-try experiences when you are in Japan, I was too conservative to try it out when I was at the ryokan. But for those who feel a little uncomfortable to go to public bath, don’t worry! This ryokan also has a private bath area which you can book during your check-in (about B$14 for a 45-minute session). And this, is the exact reason why I opted for the same ryokan for both of my visits.If you don’t have any meal restrictions, I’d also suggest reserving their Japanese Breakfast plan together with your room. They do offer half board packages (breakfast + kaiseki dinner) too but the dinner plan will unfortunately come to a stop as of November 1, 2019.Both breakfast and dinner were really elaborated and fulfilling. In fact, it was a little too much … but in a good way! So do make sure that you reserve a good amount of stomach space before having it. The highlights of the meals were definitely the famous Hida beef, which is another one of the must-eats while in Takayama!#2. Sanmachi Suji – Takayama Old Town

Take a stroll down the rows of beautiful traditional wooden houses in Takayama Old Town. Everywhere is picturesque in this area. At any given time, you can bet that it’ll be crowded with tourists! There are little stalls here and there selling food and souvenirs. I absolutely love getting lost and wandering around this area, going into every shophouses and sampling as many dishes as possible.One of the things that I always want to go back for is the mitarashi dango from this elderly woman located at one of the corners in the Old Town.#3. Hida Beef

Hida Beef is also another one of the specialties in Takayama. You can find a variety of food made with Hida Beef in this city. This can range from light bites such as Hida Beef Takoyaki and Hida Beef Croquettes to heavier meals like Hida Beef Burgers and Hida Beef Ramen. 

I am no beef expert so honestly, I can’t tell the difference between the beef from different prefectures in Japan. But one thing I do know, is that they are real good!

My favourite among the food made from Hida Beef that I have tried in Takayama, would be none other than their Hida Beef Croquette I got from a random shop in the Old Town. It is in fact the best croquette I have had throughout my Japan trip. Fluffy mashed potato mixed with minced hida beef, coated with crispy panko crumbs that was fried to perfection, I am salivating just remembering it!#4. Miyagawa Morning Market

While I am not a morning person, Miyagawa Morning Market is somewhere that I was willing to wake up for both of my trips to Takayama. They are located next to the riverside, which I find added on to the peacefulness and serenity of the area, and made me fall even deeper in love with Takayama. Despite being a fairly small market, there are a few interesting food stalls which you can find.One of which is the Owara Tamaten – something like a marshmallow omelette. This isn’t exactly my kind of food as I personally am not so into marshmallows, but it was an interesting combination which tasted like a sweet-savoury cloud in your mouth.Another one that gets quite a number of attention would be a stall selling coffee served in a cookie cup. I’m not a coffee person, but I’m one that would try it just for the ‘gram!The inner side of the cookie cups are coated in sugar, so you need to give your coffee a gentle stir before serving. And what really amazed me, was the adorable latte arts in such a small cup!

#5. Sarubobo

sarubobo is a Japanese amulet, particularly associated with the town of Takayama in Gifu Prefecture. Sarubobos are red human-shaped dolls, with no facial features, made in a variety of sizes. Traditionally, sarubobos are made by grandmothers for their grandchildren as dolls, and for their daughters as a charm for good marriage, good children and to ensure a well-rounded couple.

Here in Takayama, you’ll see sarubobo charms being sold in every single souvenir shops. If you want a little more personal touch to your sarubobo collections, there are also shops who hold sarubobo doll making classes in the area.

I’d really love to make one myself, but unfortunately didn’t have the time to so I settled with a few store-bought ones from the souvenir shops.And that’s all about Takayama! I have also created a highlight on Takayama on my IG profile too so you can check that out if you wish to see more pictures. Alternatively, you can also search for my Japan photos using the hashtag #WGEatJapan!

Have you been to Takayama?

What do you think of the list above? Are there any other spots you think should have been added to the list? I’d love to hear from you!