The Takayama festival, held in spring and autumn, is one of the most renown festival in Japan. As part of the celebrations, big Yatai floats are pushed through the streets of Takayama. Although most of the Yatai are stored for the rest of the year, four of them are displayed year round in the Yatai Kaikan museum. Historical life-size figurines are used to recreate festival scenes of the past.
The origins of Sakurayama Shrine in Takayama date back to the fifth century. Nowadays, the shrine plays an important role in the celebration of the Takayama festival (Takayama Matsuri) when large floats are pushed through the streets of Takayama. The Sakurayama Shrine is located on a hillside and is surrounded by large trees which confer to the site a serene atmosphere. Nearby, a museum features several festival floats on display and another boasts an impressive selection of small-scale replicas of the Nikko historical sites.
Takayama features many well-preserved buildings dating from the Edo period when the city was an important hub for Japanese merchants. To the North of Takayama, in the Houmeitaigumi preservation area, the Kusakabe Heritage House and the Yoshijima Heritage House are open to visitors. These small museums offer visitors an insight into the life of Takayama’s merchants in its glory days.
Japan boasts many famous shrines and temples that most first time visitors will learn about while planning their trip. But japan may have hundreds or thousands of thousand of such historical sites if not more. Each neighborhood generally has its own, where locals will celebrate many traditional rituals throughout the year. The Hozonji Temple and Isesha Shrine located in Nagano, located side-by-side, are beautiful examples.
Away from the popular touristic attractions, one may find great beauty in the common Japanese lifestyle. This beauty will be seen by the one who ventures away from the beaten path. I will collect over time in this post photos that feature the beautiful Japanese countryside I had the chance to witness by walking in rural areas of Nagano city.
This peculiar stone church was built as a memorial of Uchimura Kanzo, the founder of a Japanese Christian movement. The church was built by the American architect Kendrick Kellogg in harmony with the surrounding nature. The church’s structure is unique with multiple stone arches and rows of windows allowing plenty of natural light in the stone building. The design is also striking by its unusual asymmetry.