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Central Chubu

Takayama (below right) is located in the Japanese Alps in central Honshu. It is a very attractive place that has managed to retain most of its traditional architecture with many pleasant inns, sake breweries and shops in the city centre. It is an ideal starting point for hikes or cylcing trails in the summer. Its very remoteness has been responsible for the fact its Edo-period streets have remained largely unaltered for hundreds of years. The town is home to two of Japan’s most well-known festivals - the Sanno Matsuri (April 14 - 15) and the Yahata Matsuri (Oct 9 - 10) with their brightly adorned floats and many thousands of visitors.

Fukukawa is a similarly untouched town only smaller and slightly less accessible by road which means it is generally less crowded. Just 15 minutes away from Takayama it has the Takumi-kan (craft museum) as well as a few historic houses and shops but for many just the town itself is worth the detour with its mountainous location and historic architecture.

One of the main attractions is the Hida Folk Museum (pictured below), an open air museum that  provides a good insight in the region and its history. It consists of an eastern and a western section, one ticket giving access to both, connected by a pleasant walk through the fields.

A daytrip to the Shokawa Valley is highly recommended as is a tour of the Kiso Valley through the atmospheric post towns of Tsurago, Narai and Magome. These retain a very untouched feel with very little apparent modernisation. Visitors are advised to leave a couple of days to enjoy the 60km of the valley especially if wishing to experince some of the excellent hiking available in the area.


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