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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Festivals & Events

Takayama Autumn Festival 秋の高山祭

Takayama's old town is bathed in the soft glow of lantern light in the annual autumn festival

Begin the countdown to the end of the year with one of the Tokai region's most ornate festivals. The elegant Takayama Autumn Festival takes place over two days at the beginning of October and attracts visitors in their thousands.

How to Get There

The Hida Limited Express leaves from Nagoya every hour, taking about 140 minutes. Takayama is also connected to Toyama and Matsumoto by regular trains and highway buses.

Quick Facts

The Takayama Autumn Festival takes place in and around Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine

A total of 11 floats are paraded through the town as part of the festival

The handcrafted floats are so intricately designed that they are likened to the Yomeimon Gate at Nikko Toshogu Shrine

Harvest time

Every October 9 and 10, tens of thousands of people descend on Takayama’s old town for its grand autumn festival. A traditional harvest celebration, the festival is about giving thanks while also marking the beginning of preparations for winter.

Festival floats

The festival features colorful, ornately decorated floats called "yatai." Some of the floats are topped with marionettes, and at set times puppeteers cause them to perform traditional dances. Usually this happens mid-morning and early afternoon. Processions don't begin until dark.

For detailed information on where the floats are displayed during the day and for a schedule of the proceedings, drop by one of the local tourist information centers.

The action begins at dusk

As dusk sets in, the decorative yatai are expertly hauled through the streets by dedicated teams of shrine parishioners. Smaller portable shrines known as omikoshi also make the journey through town on the shoulders of appointed teams.

The determined shouts, traditional music played on flutes and stringed instruments, and swinging lanterns make for an exhilarating spectacle.

At various locations you’ll find food stalls with Japanese festival standards like yakisoba fried noodles, takoyaki octopus dumplings, skewered steak kebabs, and copious amounts of beer.

View the floats year-round

Even if you miss the celebration, you can still see the floats at the Takayama Matsuri Yatai Kaikan—an exhibition hall displaying floats from festivals past. For a small fee, you can rent English audio guides, which go into detail about the history of the festival and the design of the floats.

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