Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture
Nakabashi Tourist Information Office
Explore with us Hida Takayama,
an authentic town with a rich history!
Nestled in the heart of the Hida mountains in the Japanese Alps, Takayama is famous for its historic townscapes, beautiful nature, and local cuisine. The Miyagawa River flows through the city with several bridges crossing its crystal-clear waters. The Nakabashi red bridge is particularly popular as a photo spot. It’s near this bridge that you will find Nakabashi Tourist Information Office.
A friendly information center close to local people
This information center is located near Kamisan-no-machi, Takayama’s historic neighborhood that attracts the largest number of tourists. Therefore, it provides a wide range of information on restaurants, souvenir shops, and cultural experiences in this area. The information center’s staff visit the town daily to research newly opened stores and more. In addition, the inhabitants of Takayama, which is surrounded by mountains, have a custom of being kind to visitors from the outside, and therefore many shops display a deep sense of hospitality. The information center’s staff interview shop owners daily and introduce them on SNS as well. You will be able to get a lot of local information that you cannot find on the web, such as a small Chinese restaurant that serves vegetarian ramen, or a Japanese sweets shop that sells cute sweets in the shape of cats. Of course, since Takayama is on the way to the World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa (affectionately known as “Little Kyoto”), the staff will be more than happy to provide you with information on recommended bus routes and local tourist attractions.
Foreign staff acting as a bridge between the world and Japan
There is even a foreign staff person working at this information center. Giulio is from Italy and came to the Nakabashi Tourist Information Office in April 2020. He can communicate with travelers in Italian, English, and Japanese, and his friendly smile is always a charm. He is an expert on Takayama and especially recommends the area around Sakurayama Hachimangu Shrine, a short walk from the crowded Kamisan-no-machi. According to Giulio, this area has several temples and has a charming atmosphere, and there is also a pleasant walking course along the river. “Not many Japanese visit there, but many foreigners like to take a walk, and you will surely love it too!” Giulio’s unique perspective on the charms of Takayama is also a good way to learn about the town.
Sharing the charms of Takayama and its people
At the time Giulio came to this information center, the number of foreign visitors had plummeted from about 610,000 that came in 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Giulio decided to focus on social media to reach people around the world with the charms of Takayama and to maintain connections with those who had visited Takayama in the past. If you search for “Visit Hida Takayama” on Facebook and Instagram, you will find photos taken by Giulio and other staff members, showing Takayama’s real charm. Those who have visited Takayama in the past might feel nostalgia. If you have never been there, you will probably feel eager to visit it. In particular, the “Shining people around Takayama” project, in which Giulio interviewed people in the town and sent a message to the world via social media, has received hundreds of likes and dozens of comments. Seeing the friendly smiles of the people of Takayama will certainly motivate you to travel to Takayama.
Let us also share with you Giulio’s message when we visited Nakabashi Tourist Information Office in the summer of 2022.
Q：What kind of place do you think a tourist information center should be?
A：First, it’s a place where you can get information. Of course, nowadays smartphones allow us to obtain any information within seconds. But the difference here is that you have a place where you can relax, get a chance to communicate with people, and ask anything you want. Therefore, we put a lot of effort into creating a convenient yet welcoming space by placing traditionally crafted tables and chairs, vending machines, and foreign currency exchange machines. Visitors are welcome to stop by for a break or just to chat, even if they have no particular purpose in mind.
Q：What do you love most about your job at this tourist information center?
A：Contact with people is what I love the most about this job. It’s not uncommon for me to chat for half an hour or more with visitors who want to know more about the life in Takayama and “secret spots” only known by locals. Also, contrary to big cities for which information is easily available, it’s sometimes difficult to find information about rural areas, but it’s also what gives them a mysterious side and makes it such an exciting experience to visit them!
Q：What would you recommend to visitors in Takayama?
A： I would like them to enjoy their time in Takayama and get to know more about it. When you first come to Japan, a lot of things look similar wherever you go, like temples and shrines. But take for example Mitarashi Dango, sweet rice dumplings coated with soy-and-sugar syrup and skewered onto a bamboo stick. They may look the same as in other places, but did you know that Takayama’s Mitarashi Dango are saltier? That’s the kind of thing I want people to discover and enjoy.
Q：What would be your message to visitors from overseas?
A：We know that you all had been patiently waiting for Japan’s borders to reopen. For Takayama inhabitants, it was also a long period without foreign visitors, and adjusting will take time. But don’t worry because people here are strongly attached to the concept of “omotenashi,” the Japanese sense of hospitality.
Next time you visit Takayama, make sure to stop at Nakabashi Tourist Information Office and have a chat in English or Italian with Giulio and his colleagues!
*The information herein is as of January 2023.
- Hours of Operation
- 9:00 - 18:00
- New Year holidays (Dec. 31–Jan. 3)
- 〒506-0011 1-2 Hon-machi, Takayama City, Gifu
- 10-minute walk from East Exit of JR Takayama Station
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