Up in the far reaches of Gifu prefecture, nestled in the Northern Alps, is Hida-Takayama, more commonly just called Takayama. It means tall mountain (高山), which applies to a few places here and there in Japan. Luckily, this Takayama is #1 in terms of tourism, and it is a must-hit for people with a train pass and more than a few weeks in Japan.
Takayama city boasts history, culture, and food. They even have their own style of ramen.
The ramen here is a simple shoyu, and the soup is heavy on the katsu. Despite the very dark color, it is one of the most refreshing local bowls out there. The quality of water really shines!
Noodles are thin and springy, reminiscent of the instant ones you can buy in bulk at the supermarket. In a good way.
The city seemed to have about a dozen ramen shops within walking distance of the station. Outside of that radius . . . this is countryside Japan. I stayed at a hotel that was a 10 minute drive, and we couldn’t even find a convenience store near us.
Takayama’s other big food attraction is the beef. 飛騨牛. Hida-gyu is locally raised wagyu, some of the best in Japan. No trip is complete without some of the stuff served raw on rice, sushi style. Very delicious. I could eat a couple of these everyday if it wasn’t 500 yen for one serving.
The mountain springs mean good water and good rice. That means nihonshu.
Plenty of free samples to try, plenty of things to buy, all in the old town area.
If you are planning a trip up here, you don’t need to give yourself much time. After walking around for a couple hours, I had seen it all.
I even had time to soak my feet in a foot onsen near the station.
Go for the ramen, or a nice steak, then stick around for some of what countryside Japan is famous for. If you have transportation, there are a plethora of spots within driving distance.
By train, you can take the Bullet Train to Nagoya and transfer to an express train. There are buses from Shinjuku as well that take about 6 hours, and are a lot cheaper.
Take time: 248 Minutes Transfer: 1 Times Distance: 532.7 km
Total:¥ 14,500(Fare:¥ 8,510 Seat Fee:¥ 5,990) Commuting ticket(1mon:¥ — 3mon:¥ — 6mon:¥ — )