Gifu #4: Takayama Festival (高山祭)

Gifu’s fourth postcard depicts a famous festival here in Japan in Takayama, which is held once in the Spring and once in the Fall every year. It is ranked as one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan, and you can read more about it here.

Since I went to Gifu in summer, I obviously didn’t get to see the actual festival. However, there is still a number of ways to experience this festival even if you can’t be there during the two times a year it is being held!

One such is at the Yatai Kaikan (Float Museum) next to the Hachiman Shrine. About 4 floats of the usual 11 are displayed on a rotation at this museum, with descriptions of each and little stories about them. Other festival items, including historical items no longer used, can be seen, and a video about the festival can be watched.

Another place to experience Takayama festivals is at the Matsuri no Mori Festival Museum which displays life-sized replicas of each of the 11 festival floats, including working karakuri marionette dolls, which are a big part of the festival. These dolls are usually operated by hand, but at the museum they are operated mechanically so as to give many demonstrations throughout the day.

Since Matsuri no Mori is not in walking distance of the city (most take a bus, about 15 minutes), we chose to see the Yatai Kaikan. Also, we were able to see a few of the buildings where the floats are kept throughout the city.

One of the areas floats are kept

Yatai Kaikan Entrance

Inside the Yatai Kaikan

One of the bridges featured in the festival


Takayama is a really beautiful area. Of course, it’s ideal to go during the actual festival to see it in person, but if that is impossible, there are still many ways to enjoy the festival! You can read more about my trip to Gifu and Takayama here!

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