Rural Getaway around Takayama
Explore by minivan the area around Takayama and discover the Japanese countryside from a different angle. Your English-speaking guide will suggest an off-the-beaten-track itinerary alternating wilderness and traditions.
Pray in rural temples
Perched high above Takayama, far from the rest of the world, the atmosphere at Senkoji temple is a source of serenity and well-being. Built around 1200 years ago by one of Kobo Daishi's ten disciples, the temple was rebuilt after being burned down in 1564. The traditional temple is famous for having hosted the monk Enku, famous for the tens of thousands of wooden statues he created during his various pilgrimages. Time permitting, we'll visit the two monks who live on site with their families to find out more about their daily lives at the temple, and tour the interior while listening to their stories.
Step out of time in small villages
The village of Hida Furukawa was founded by Arishige, son of Nagachika of the Kanamori clan (founder of Takayama), 400 years ago. With these references in place, we can paint the enchanting picture that is Hida-Furukawa: a pleasant little canalized river flows through the middle of the village's street with ancient white-walled granaries, and a thousand carp swim quietly in it. You're immediately in the mood for a charming, nostalgic little town.
We'll also visit the village of Shirakabe Dozogai, where the streets are laid out in a checkerboard pattern similar to that of the ancient imperial capital, Kyoto. We'll walk along the city's magnificent alleyways, lined with small canals that are home to a multitude of Koi carps.
Admire the craftsmanship of Hida's woodworkers
A little further, Hokonji temple, which was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1904, and is one of the largest wooden buildings in the Hida region. It benefits from the skills of the region's craftsmen and is one of Japan's most beautiful and impressive wooden buildings
Take a local cuisine break
Recognizable by its Sugidama (pine ball) hanging from the building's entrance, the Watanabe sake brewery is ranked among the best breweries in the region. During our visit to the Hida Furukawa center, we'll have the opportunity to stop and sample a few cups of sake, and learn a little more about this liquor so dear to Japanese hearts.
For lunch, we'll share a typical local meal in one of the city's best restaurants.
Regenerate in contact with nature and rural legends and folk
After our visit to Hida Furukawa and its activities, we'll head deep into the mountains to discover the 48 Utsueshijuhachitaki waterfalls. A true gift of nature, the site is sacred to the people of Hida, as it is here that one of the oldest local legends was born, "the legend of Yosohachi" (which will be told to you by your guide). Kōbō-Daishi, the great monk and founder of the Shingon Buddhist sect, was intrigued by the legend and visited the site during one of his pilgrimages, giving it the name "48 cascades" (relating to the 48 prayers of Buddhism). The beauty of the site and the weight of this legend offer a total immersion in the world of Japanese folklore. This walk will satisfy hikers and Japanese history buffs alike. The perfect compromise between cultural experience and adventure.
To round off our day, we'll head for Mount Matsukurayama, southwest of Takayama. We'll visit the ruins of Matsukura Castle and Matsukura Kannon Temple, perched 856m above sea level, both offering superb panoramic views of Mt. Norikura, Mt. Hakusan, Mt. Ontake (Japanese Alps) and the city of Takayama.
For about an 8 hours day, let yourself experience the dreamlike world deep in the Gifu countryside. A private trip by minivan, at a reasonable price, lunch and paid entries included, during which the participants will discover the hidden beauties the Hida countryside, the "satoyama", has to offer. Definitely one of the tours from your travel to Japan that you will not forget, far from the hustle and bustle of Takayama's tourist areas, enjoy this tour designed for nature and tradition lovers.
Included in the tour:
- Transportation and gas
- Paid entries for temples and museums