It’s Andres, from Boutique Japan.

This month’s postcard comes from from a historic town in the Japanese Alps.

The mountain town of Takayama is extremely popular among visitors to Japan, thanks to its combination of mountain scenery and charming, traditional streets.

Takayama (which translates quite literally to tall mountain), is located deep in the Alps, about 2 hours 30 minutes north of Nagoya by train (the scenic Hida Wideview Limited Express), or 1 hour 45 minutes southeast of Kanazawa by road.

It’s also worth noting that it’s just about 1 hour from the thatched-roof villages of Gokayama and Shirakawago.

With the rise in Japan’s popularity as a travel destination, Takayama has become remarkably popular. By far the busiest times of year in terms of crowds, are during its famous festival, the Takayama Matsuri, which is held in both spring and fall.

Apart from this, despite its popularity, Takayama is a pleasantly sleepy town, making it a nice respite from Japan’s cities without being too remote.

Takayama is rightly renowned for its sake (the gentleman in the photo above sells sake on one of the town’s traditional streets), and it’s also famous throughout Japan for its beef, Hida-gyu (Hida is the region, while gyu means beef).

While there is not a huge amount to do in Takayama, you can easily keep busy for a couple of days or more. Or you can simply relax at your ryokan, enjoy your hot springs, and take a break from exploring.

There is a morning market held on the town’s central Miyagawa River, and if you want to get out of town for some exercise and activity, there are great cycling opportunities in the beautiful surrounding countryside.

In the evening, make sure to pop by the convivial Red Hill, a friendly local bar I first learned about in Chris Bunting’s Drinking Japan!

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Boutique Japan

“I cannot recommend Boutique Japan highly enough! My partner and I travelled to Japan for two weeks in April 2014, during the height of the cherry blossom season. I am very grateful to them for going the extra mile to help us in a very short timeframe. They are knowledgeable, responsive, thorough and a pleasure to work with. Thank you!” – James & Oscar, London

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