Hida is located in Gifu Prefecture, almost in the center of the Japanese archipelago. Here, narrow valleys stretch between countless steep mountains, dotted with villages. One of the widest basins here is the Takayama Basin. A peculiarity of the climate is the vast difference in temperature between night and day during the winter. With a heavy snowfall, the winter is extremely cold, and at its coldest, temperatures have been known to reach 15 degrees below freezing. On summer days, the dazzling sunlight is often potent, but because the humidity is low, you can savor a sense of refreshment, and nights are so cool that you cannot do without a futon. There are beautiful views of nature everywhere, with mountains in the 3,000-meter class.
- History and Beginnings
In 1585, Kanamori Nagachika conquered Hida and put a lot of effort into reviving the culture of the castle, its town, and its temples. This Kanamori period continued for 107 years through 6 rulers. When the Kanamori period ended, Hida came under the direct control of the Tokugawa shogunate. Takayama Castle, destroyed in 1695, was designated as a prefectural historical landmark, and the ‘Site of Takayama Castle’ is now Shiroyama Park. During the Edo period (1603 to 1867), Takayama was a vassal state of the Tokugawa shogunate. It was a period that witnessed a great burgeoning of Japanese culture, which has been passed down through the centuries and is still evident in Takayama today.
Hida-Takayama has preserved the feeling of a castle town, apparent by its history-filled streets. With the latticed bay windows and linked eaves of merchants' houses in Sanmachi Suji, the enduring historical temples and shrines of Higashiyama, and the reproduction of Hida's traditional mountain farming villages of sloped-roof houses at Hida Folk Village, the town itself could be called a sightseeing spot. The Takayama festival held in spring and fall is known as one of the three most beautiful festivals of Japan (the other two are the Gion Festival of Kyoto and the Chichibu Night Festival of Saitama Prefecture). Ornate floats crafted by Hida artisans are pulled around, and Takayama becomes truly energetic. When visiting Takayama, you can certainly savor the arts and culture of traditional craftsmen while enjoying the feel of the ancient city.
- Main industries and special products
The Hida region is called a treasury of crafts and folk arts. This is due to the innate handicraft skill of the people of Hida as well as the many unique crafts and folk arts made in Hida’s artisan tradition. These handicrafts range from objects made mostly from wood, such as folk toys and decorative pieces, to crafts made from straw from farming villages. They are loved as authentic local souvenirs by tourists.
- Local government PR
In recent years, the city has been working to preserve the old townscapes and create a comfortable environment for its elderly and disabled citizens, thus promoting the creation of a barrier-free town under the catchphrase ‘A town comfortable to live in is a town comfortable to travel in.’ Since 2001, the city has been working to make the lives of international tourists easier by providing brochures, information on the Internet, and maps and signs. The objective of these initiatives is to provide reliable reference materials that will allow everyone to enjoy the town and its historical and traditional attractions.