As I entered the Hida Folk Village, I was stunned by the breathtaking view of the quaint thatched houses strongly standing deep in the snowy landscape. It was absolutely gorgeous and so surreal, it was as if I was in a dream. The song “Winter Wonderland” came to mind and kept playing in my head.
Hida Folk Village is an open-air museum with over 30 houses tucked away in the middle of the forest with views of the Japan Alps. These houses were built during the Edo Period, and many of them were relocated and carefully preserved to create the museum in 1971. Storehouses, logging huts, and traditional crafts are also featured in this village-like museum.
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How to Get to Hida Folk Village
The village is located in the quiet part of Hida Takayama and is accessible by a 35-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride from Takayama Station via the Sarubobo Bus Line. A combination ticket worth 930 yen can be purchased outside the JR Takayama Station, which includes round-trip bus tickets between JR Takayama Station and Hida no Sato (Hida Folk Village) and the admission fee to the Hida Folk Village.
Once you get to the village entrance, you have the option of choosing between three walking routes: a 15-minute, 30-minute, and 45-minute walking tour. I chose the 45-minute route, but it turned out that many of their trails were buried in snow and made other farmhouses inaccessible to visitors.
Visitors are permitted to explore the inside of the farmhouses at no extra cost. Many farmhouses display unique wooden architecture and exhibit tools, such as farm implements, and folk crafts used in everyday life in the past.
Some of the description below were taken from the wooden guide plaque of each house.
This kind of house is unique to regions with heavy snow, where large rafters are used for supporting the roof, which was sometimes covered in as much as 2 meters of snow during the winter.
Wakayama is a representative gassho house with a steep rafter roof. The ground floor was built by carpenters and the upper floors were constructed by the village people. It took all the village people four days to make the thatched roof, which is said to last for 40 to 60 years.
The fire at the hearth is always lighted not only because it reproduces the atmosphere of the old days but also because the smoke is very important for preserving the house in a good state. The smoke protects the house from harmful insects, keeps the ropes tight, and maintains the humidity in the house. Visitors are prohibited to touch the fire pit.
Hina dolls are displayed at the engawa, a narrow wooden passageway along the edge of a house facing the garden. It has a beautiful geometrical design that stands out from the rest of the houses. You can sit back and get comfy in front of an irori fireplace, where free Japanese pickles, grilled mochi, and hot tea are served for visitors of Hida Folk Village. You can have a short chat with the staff and other visitors to the place.
Bell Next To Hozumi’s House
This house was built along the main transportation route of Hida (now Route 41) and was a successful way to a station in those days. The main modes of transportation were oxen and horses, and its veranda was open for weary travelers so they could rest here. When I came to this house, there was a man selling wooden utensils and showing visitors how to make them.
More Photos from My Winter Wonderland Experience
It was very enjoyable touring the village solo, I was glad I was able to explore at my own pace and take in the beautiful surroundings.
Have you been to Hida Folk Village in Takayama? How was your experience?
P.S. Hida Takayama is now my favorite place in Japan, and I’m planning to come back in summer and autumn.