1-Day Tour from Takayama: Gujo Hachiman -History, Traditions and Crafts
All Year Round
09:00 - 18:30
1-Day Tour from Takayama: Gujo Hachiman -History, Traditions and Crafts
Embark on a journey to the heart of Japanese culture in Gujo Hachiman, a hidden gem nestled in the mountains. Known for its rich history, traditional crafts, and stunning natural beauty, Gujo Hachiman offers an escape into a world where time-honoured traditions thrive in harmony with nature. This full-day tour from Takayama to Gujo Hachiman will take you through centuries-old streets, into the realms of ancient castles, and the intricate world of Japanese craft making. Wander through this picturesque town and find yourself captivated by its serene beauty, enriched by the legacy of its traditions, and inspired by the craftsmanship that has shaped its identity over centuries. Join us for an unforgettable exploration of Gujo Hachiman’s vibrant history, enduring traditions, and the artistry that makes this town a treasure of Japanese culture.
- Cultural Immersion: Delve into the town’s past and learn about the Gujo Odori Festival, a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage event.
- Gujo Hachiman Castle: Explore Japan’s oldest wooden castle, offering stunning views and rich historical insights.
- Hands-on Craft Experience: Engage in the unique art of replica food crafting, creating your own hyper-realistic replicas to take home.
- Free Exploration: Discover Gujo Hachiman at your own pace, from its old town charm to its traditional crafts.
- Scenic Journey: Enjoy the picturesque landscapes on your journey between Takayama and Gujo Hachiman.
Your journey into the heart of Gujo Hachiman begins at 9:00 AM at Takayama Station, where your guide will welcome you for a day of exploration and insight. As you leave Takayama behind and embark on a scenic journey weaving through landscapes, a picturesque backdrop sets the stage for your adventure into Gujo Hachiman.
Upon arriving in Gujo Hachiman, the your first destination is Gujo Hachiman Castle, a historic emblem, celebrated as ‘Japan’s most beautiful mountain castle’. Rebuilt in 1933, this wooden castle stands as Japan’s oldest of its kind, offering a unique insight into the region’s past.
As you stroll through the castle grounds, you’ll be captivated by panoramic views and the serene beauty of its setting. Whether framed by vibrant autumn leaves or a serene snow-covered landscape, the castle’s vantage point offers a stunning perspective of the town and its picturesque surroundings.
While wandering through its historic halls and grounds, your guide will bring to life stories of ancient samurai and strategic fortifications, vividly narrating the castle’s storied past and its enduring legacy.
Your exploration continues next to a local museum, a treasure trove of the town’s cultural and historical narratives. While exploring its exhibits, you’ll gain insights into how the natural surroundings and historical sites have shaped Gujo Hachiman’s unique traditions.
A key highlight of the museum is its detailed exposition on the Gujo Odori Festival. Although the festival itself takes place annually, the museum allows visitors to experience its essence year-round. Through interactive displays and performance demonstration, you’ll learn about this UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage event, its traditional dances like ‘Kawasaki’ and ‘Haru Koma’, and its role in unifying the community. The museum serves as a vibrant testament to the festival’s enduring impact on Gujo Hachiman’s cultural fabric, offering an engaging glimpse into a tradition that continues to enliven the town.
In the afternoon, immerse yourself in Gujo Hachiman’s unique art of replica food crafting. In this hands-on workshop, you’ll create your own lifelike food replicas, a craft that’s an integral part of Japanese culture and admired for its hyper-realistic detail. Initially designed for restaurant displays, these intricate pieces have garnered global attention. As a highlight, you’ll take home your crafted replica, a tangible and memorable souvenir of your time spent delving into this fascinating aspect of Gujo Hachiman’s heritage.
As the workshop concludes, the rest of the afternoon is yours to embrace the charm of Gujo Hachiman at your leisure. This free time allows you to meander through its quaint, winding streets, step into traditional shops brimming with local crafts, or simply relax in the town’s tranquil ambiance. Seize this opportunity to uncover hidden gems, immerse yourself in the local lifestyle, and create personal memories in this picturesque setting.
As the day draws to a close, reconvene with your group for the return journey to Takayama. Reflect on a day rich in history, culture, and creativity as you travel back, arriving at Takayama Station around 5:30 PM. With memories of Gujo Hachiman’s enchanting streets, majestic castle, and unique crafts, you’ll depart with a deeper appreciation for the enduring spirit of Japan’s traditions.
*Guests who have secured accommodation for the night around Gujo-Hachiman and wish to end the tour there are free to do so. Please inform your guide, and they will offer any additional help you may need. See our FAQs below for details.
|Meet at Takayama Station. Begin your journey with your guide, setting off on a scenic trip to Gujo Hachiman.
|Upon arrival in Gujo Hachiman, ascend to the hilltop, where Gujo Hachiman Castle stands proudly, a testament to the town's past. Immerse yourself in the castle's grandeur as you admire panoramic views of the town and its picturesque surroundings.
|Next, delve into the town's rich cultural heritage at the local museum. Explore its captivating exhibits that unveil the stories behind Gujo Hachiman's enduring traditions, shaped by the surrounding natural landscape and historical significance.
|After walking through the heart of Gujo Hachiman's old town, take a break for lunch and explore the town's quaint streets, traditional shops, and local ambiance.
|Discover the art of replica food crafting, a unique Japanese tradition that elevates everyday objects into masterpieces of realism. Engage in a hands-on workshop where you'll create your own hyper-realistic food replicas, a cherished souvenir that captures the essence of Gujo Hachiman's culinary artistry.
|Embark on a leisurely stroll through the town's captivating streets, soaking in the tranquil atmosphere and discovering hidden gems. Browse through traditional shops, each brimming with local crafts and handicrafts, and immerse yourself in the town's rich cultural tapestry.
|Bid farewell to the charming town of Gujo Hachiman as you embark on your journey back to Takayama. Engage in lively conversations with your fellow travelers, sharing your cherished memories and newfound appreciation for Gujo Hachiman's cultural treasures.
|Arrive at Takayama Station, the culmination of a day filled with immersive experiences and unforgettable discoveries. Reflect on the captivating blend of history, tradition, and artistry that you encountered throughout Gujo Hachiman, carrying with you a deeper understanding of Japan's rich cultural heritage.
TOUR MEETUP POINT
1 / TAKAYAMA STATION @ 9:00 A.M.
The meetup point is outside of the ticket gates at JR Takayama Station. Once you have left the gates, look to your left to see a walkway and a carving depicting an ornate wagon. You may wait nearby there until the tour begins at 9:00 A.M. Be sure to look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag. There is also a waiting room with benches nearby for guests who have arrived early and would like to sit down; however, please make sure that you have left the waiting room and are in place at the meetup point at 9:00.
- Transportation to Gujo-Hachiman from Takayama, and transport from Gujo-Hachiman to Takayama
- Entrance to both the Gujo Hachiman Museum and Gujo Hachiman Castle
- Hands-on replica food crafting experience
- Guided walks at Gujo Hachiman
- An English speaking guide
- This tour involves several hours of walking in the outdoors. We recommend that you wear shoes and clothes which are easy to walk in. Please check the weather forecast before you head to the meetup point and prepare an umbrella or rain coat if necessary.
- In winter the temperatures may drop below freezing, and even during the daytime temperatures may not exceed 1-2 ℃ on some days. Please wear warm clothing and footwear appropriate for snowy and cold conditions. There may also be snow and ice on the road/sidewalk, and so you should take care to not slip by preparing the correct shoes for such conditions.
- There will be free time at both Takayama and Shirakawa-go for guests to enjoy the locations at their own pace. However, please make sure that you are at the respective meetup points at the time stated by your guide. If you get lost or need assistance, feel free to call the number which is listed on your tour pass, and our staff will assist you immediately.
- I’d like to join this tour from Tokyo/Nagoya. Is that possible?
- Unfortunately, it is not possible to reach the meetup point for this tour on time if leaving from Tokyo/Nagoya on the same day as the tour. We recommend guests to spend the night in Takayama or a nearby area on the day before the tour in order to be able to reach the meetup point by the starting time.
By participating in our 1 Day tour from Nagano and Matsumoto: Kamikochi and Matsumoto Castle, you will be able to start at Nagano Station/Matsumoto Station, view the historic Matsumoto Castle, and hike in scenic Kamikochi, from where you can take a short 1-hour bus ride to Takayama and spend the night - ready to participate in the Takayama and Shirakawa-go tour on the next day. Guests who take the early morning Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagano - those departing at 6:16 or 6:28 - in order to arrive at Nagano Station for the 8:15 meet up time (or the Azusa Express leaving Shinjuku at 7:00 heading for Matsumoto) will be able to string together these two tours for an unforgettable two day experience in the heartland of Japan.
Please feel free to contact us if you would like more information.
- What should I wear/bring?
- Please wear clothing appropriate to the season in which you are taking the tour, and check the weather forecast ahead of time. Guests may wish to bring rain coats or umbrellas on rainy days, or sunscreen to avoid sunburn during the summer months. In the winter months, the air temperatures will be cold (5 to -5 ℃ on average), and so gloves, winter boots, warm hats, and hand warmers are recommended. Otherwise, please feel free to bring any other items, such as water or a snack, which you would normally carry when walking in the outdoors.
- Is this tour wheelchair accessible/appropriate for guests with limited mobility?
- The nature of this tour means it is not wheelchair accessible and may not be appropriate for guests with limited mobility, given the amount of walking involved. Should this be of concern, contact us prior to booking to discuss options.
- Is lunch included on this tour?
- No. This tour does not include lunch however there will be opportunities to purchase food and drinks during the tour. If you prefer to, please also feel free to bring snacks and drinks with you.
(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara
All Year Round
09:00 - 18:30