Situated downriver and featuring many of the same kinds of lovingly restored buildings that Takayama does, Hida Furukawa in Gifu is an atmospheric but more peaceful alternative to its more famous neighbor.
The town is famous for its timber and local carpenters
Hida Furukawa offers stalls with fresh produce and sake breweries
Hida Furukawa is accessible by train from Takayama City.
From Takayama Station, take the Takayama Line to Hida Furukawa Station. The trip takes about 15 minutes.
Hida Furukawa is something of a sibling to Takayama , but it is much more sedate. The old town, which features restored and preserved buildings from the Edo period (1603-1867) built by local master carpenters, makes for a delightful stroll.
The bright white walls of the warehouses on the riverbanks look particularly beautiful in spring and autumn, when the cherry blossoms or fiery fall leaves speak of Japan's seasonal delight.
On April 19 and 20, a week after Takayama's Spring Festival, Hida Furukawa holds a celebration of its own. The highlight of the first day is a drum festival, where scantily clad men compete in enormous taiko drum performances.
On the 20th, large, highly decorated floats parade through the streets. They can be seen the rest of the year at the Hida Furukawa Festival Hall.
The Santera-Mairi Festival on January 15 features more than 1,000 candles set up along the riverbanks, radiant against the heavy snow that blankets Hida in the winter. Participants visit Enkoji, Honkoji, and Shinshuji to pray for a good year to come and positive romantic developments.