I learned about these places from Ivan, who visited in 2011. I knew as soon as I saw his pictures that it should be added to my Japan itinerary.
Fast forward to 2012, after a long time in transit (16 hours, 5 trains), I found myself in Takayama. It’s a small city, very walkable. Just the way I like it. Ten minutes from the hostel are heritage houses, museums, shrines and temples.
Fifty minutes by bus sits Shirakawa-go, a Unesco World Heritage Site in the mountains of Gifu. Here, you’ll see gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some more than 250 years old.
Like in Takayama, it’s a pleasure to stroll through the small streets of Shirakawa-go, taking in the sights and savoring the peace and quiet. That is, until the next noisy pack of tourists pass by.