Takayama Jinya is a former government building that was under direct governance of Edo (previous name of Tokyo). The building is now a museum open to visitors. Most of the rooms are tatami rooms that once served as offices and meeting rooms but there is also a peculiar room that was used by the lord to interrogate/torture suspected criminals.
It is somewhat strange to find a museum dedicated to Nikko in the middle of Gifu prefecture but the Sakurayama Nikkokan is definitely worth the visit. The Sakurayama Nikkokan features small-scale (1/10 scale) replicas of the Nikko-Toshogu shrine and other historical sites of Nikko. It took the 33 carpenters a total of 15 years to complete. The replicas are very detailed and give the visitors a different and interesting point of view compared to visiting the sites in person.
The Takayama festival, held in spring and autumn, is one of the most renowned 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.