I was so blown away by @jtbjapanican‘s picture of Takayama that I think I have added it to my list of places to visit in Japan. Nestled in the Japanese Alps on the main island Honshu, this stunning backdrop is reminiscent of old town Japan and does (as @jtbjapanican rightly said) look just like a Ghibli movie. Craftsmanship and lacquerware are on display in the old town houses and museums, and taking a walk through old town will take you past old wooden houses, sake breweries and shops on narrow parallel streets.
Northwest lies the town of Shirakawago with its cute Gassho-Zukuri style houses that look like a field of triangles. The houses were built this was to deal with the large amounts of snow during winter. Nearby is a museum which will allow you to explore the houses in greater detail. Whilst investigating Shirakawago I found it quiet interesting that Japanese residents can apply to become residents! You can also watch the town’s goings-on live on their tourist website. Wikitravel article here.
I’ve been taking a look at the Takayama tourist website which has detailed listings of all attractions and some fantastic recommendations of places to stay. I might make this our one expensive Ryokan stay, as so many of the inns have large onsen (one on the roof!) and beautiful views of the Japanese Alps. Have you been? Let me know what you think!
Translated version of the “Beautiful Villages of Japan” website (featuring Shiragawago) can be found here.