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Itinerary tip: The Japan Alps
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Itinerary tip: The Japan Alps

Landlocked in central Honshū, The Japan Alps are a complete opposite to the lowland, highly populated, futuristic cities of modern Japan. Travel to Takayama with your Japan Rail Pass and use it as a jumping off point for all the area’s highlights.

What Takayama has to offer

In the city’s old town you’ll find perfectly preserved Edo-Period houses, as well as sake breweries, hic! Wander the streets and buy some local crafts from the morning market, or tour the temples, shrines and castle ruins. In spring and autumn join in some raucous chanting when Takayama holds one of Japan’s most famous festivals, with processions, floats and performances to marvel at.

Trips from Takayama with your Japan Rail Pass

Kanazawa: Considered Japan’s most beautiful landscaped garden, Kenrokuen is a must see. After this, stop at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, samurai, geisha or ninja buildings.

Kanazawa streets

Shirakawa-go/Gokayama: This region is dotted with picturesque old farmhouses with steep thatched roofs used for silkworm cultivating. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site take the opportunity to stay overnight in one of these fantastic buildings.

Okuhida: After sightseeing, soak your weary body in an outdoor onsen (rotemburo), with calming views over this leafy mountain region, don’t forget your modesty towel!

How to get there

Take the Shinkansen → Nagoya, transfer to the JR Hida Limited Express Train → Takayama (L’Ex takes 140 minutes, one train per hour), all with your Japan Rail Pass.

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View more images of The Japan Alps on our Flickr page

Mt. ChoukaiRyoukan dinnerOkuhida onsenKenrokuen GardensThe Japan AlpsContemporary art, Kanazawa

photo David Sanz / Yuki Shimazu

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