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Itinerary tip: The Japan Alps

Itinerary tip: The Japan Alps
The Japan Alps has lots to offer - farmhouses, gardens, onsen, local craft, teahouses and samurai dwellings - the perfect antidote to neon cities...
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":http://www.jrpass.com and use it as a jumping off point for all the area's highlights. h4. 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":http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/indepth/history/traditionalevents/a17_fes_takayama.html, with processions, floats and performances to marvel at. h4. Trips from Takayama with your Japan Rail Pass *Kanazawa:* Considered Japan's most beautiful landscaped garden, "Kenrokuen":http://www.pref.ishikawa.jp/siro-niwa/kenrokuen/e/index.html is a must see. After this, stop at the "21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art":http://www.kanazawa21.jp/en/, 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":http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/734 take the opportunity to "stay overnight":http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/db/shirakawago/ in one of these fantastic buildings. *Okuhida:* After sightseeing, soak your weary body in an outdoor "onsen":http://www.jrpass.com/blogs/relax-and-unwind-in-an-onsen (_rotemburo_), with calming views over this leafy mountain region, don't forget your modesty towel! h4. 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":http://www.jrpass.com. Click "here":http://www.jrpass.com/buy_the_japan_rail_pass_online to buy your Japan Rail Pass now! h4. 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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