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Goheimochi is mashed rice is grilled on a skewer and glazed with a delicious sesame sauce called “afurae,” and it’s a local cuisine in the mountainous region of the Chubu area in which Hida Takayama sits. It’s said that it was given the name “gohei” because it resembles the shape of the “gohei,” a staff with plaited paper streamers, that is offered up to the Shinto deities. Its distinguishing characteristic is the fragrant sesame sauce mixing harmoniously with the sweetness of the rice to create a mild taste. They sell it in various places, including the sightseeing spot Sannochi. Since it’s on a skewer it’s easy to eat and it’s perfect for when you’re feeling just a little peckish.
Fukutaro’s goheimochi uses fragrant sesame sauce just like they did in the old days!fukutarou.com
Fukutarou sells not just goheimochi and local vegetables, but also has accessories from Hida, a gallery that exhibits photographs of the nature in Hida, and a cafe. The traditional home-style cafe inside is full of folk-style furniture and wooden tables, so you can be relaxed by the calm, refined atmosphere. Why not take a break in Fukutarou if you’re tired from walking?
Business hours： 9 AM – 6 PM
Address： 58 Shimosannomachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu
Access： 20 minute walk from JR Takayama Station. Near the Miyagawa Asaichi market.
2. Hida Beef Croquettes
Hida beef is one of the specialties of Hida Takayama. It’s very smooth and soft, and its characteristics are a net-like marbling and a mellow taste. The soft, juicy Hida beef wrapped in a crunchy layer makes for a very delicious croquette. You won’t be able to resist the crunch followed by the juiciness when you take a bite. It’s only about 200 yen so it’s very reasonable, so please try it fresh out of the fryer. It’s a croquette that you’ll definitely find when you walk around. Among all the places serving it, the one from Sukeharu is above and beyond. They use high-quality Hida beef that has some sweetness to it so it becomes a great, juicy snack!
Sukeharu, a 90 year old butcher
Sukeharu is a well-respected butcher that’s been in business for 90 years. Since they’re very particular about their meat, it’s considered one of the best menchi katsu (fried patty made of ground beef) restaurants in Japan. They have a wide menu offering Hida beef and fresh local vegetables. Please enjoy Hida beef in this calm, folk-style restaurant.
Business hours: 10 AM – 5 PM
Closed on Tuesdays (and some holidays)
HP: http://www.takayama-sukeharu.com/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 19 Kamiichinomachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu
Access: A minute walk from Furuimachinami, a 10 minute walk from Miyagawa Asaichi
3. Hida Beef Burger
Thanks to TripAdvisor, hamburgers have been chosen as #2 in Japan’s food ranking. This burger isn’t just any burger, but the patty is made of Hida beef and it’s rather thick. The taste is simple but peppery so it really enhances the flavor of the meat. The texture is firm and pleasurable. People have said that even though it’s a hamburger, it feels like they’re eating steak. It might be surprising that people come all this way just to eat it, but you’ll understand when you eat it. It’s worth it.
Enjoy a retro atmosphere at Center4 Hamburgers
This restaurant’s interior is inspired by an American retro look. The shop doesn’t face the street so it might be hard to find for first-timers. Pass through the antique shop Agariya and when you exit the back you continue through the sundry shop. The restaurant is small but since it’s popular it can get very crowded. Visit when you have time to kill.
Business hours: 11 AM – 2:30 PM, 6 PM – 9:30 P
Closed on Tuesdays
HP: http://tiger-center4.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 94 Kamiichinomachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu
Access: 20 minute walk from JR Takayama Station
4. Takayama Ramen
Takayama ramen is a very popular local dish. The soup uses soup bones, katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), and vegetables as a base, and then it’s mixed with a secret sauce made with soy sauce and miso before boiling. It’s refreshing even though it has a multitude of flavors, so ramen fans love it. The thin, homemade wavy noodles have a satisfying chewiness. Why not enjoy the depth of Takayama ramen, loved by those in the know?
Eat Takayama ramen at Mame Tengu!
Mame Tengu is known for their attention to detail in regards to their Takayama ramen, from the ingredients to the way its made, to create a flavor with depth. The ramen takes time and energy to make, but they spare nothing in order to make it as delicious as possible, so it’ll surely make an impression on you as well.
Business hours: 11 AM – 7 PM
Closed on Tuesdays
HP: http://blucktown.web.fc2.com/kodawari/index.html (Japanese Only)
Address: 2-62 Hachikenmachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu
Access: 15 minute walk from JR Takayama Station
5. Hida Gyuuman
Hida Gyuuman are beef buns made with a fluffy, soft dough and plenty of juicy, sweet beef. When you stuff one into your mouth, the flavors of the beef and the juices gradually fill your mouth. The spicy-sweet seasoning enhances the flavor of the Hida beef for an addicting taste. It’s a simple B-kyu snack that nonetheless uses Hida beef to its highest potential. It’s a perfect size to eat as you walk around.
If you’re going to eat a Hida Gyuuman, you must go to Kihachirou
If you’re going to eat a Hida Gyuuman, you must make your way to Hida Tezukuri Koubou Kihachiro. They use 100% branded Hida beef to create a luxurious beef bun. Many people visit to enjoy the simplicity of the sweet, soft beef.
Business hours: 9 AM – 5 PM
Open 365 days a year
HP: http://yamaichitei.shop-pro.jp/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 2 Shimoichinomachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu
Access: 5 minute walk from JR Takayama Station’s North exit
6. Mitarashi Dango
Mitarashi dango is a traditional Japanese snack in which mochi (gelatinous rice) is formed into little round dumplings, then it’s covered in a sauce. Usually mitarashi dango are made using a sweet soy sauce, but in Hida Takayama they use soy sauce and grill it to release the fragrance of the sauce. It’s very popular with people who aren’t fans of the sweet mitarashi dango. The mochi is in easy-to-eat bite-size pieces, so it’s also popular to buy and eat as you walk around.
Jinya Dango, a shop that’s appeared in historical movies and dramas
Wherever you walk around Hida Takayama, you’ll see signs for mitarashi dango. However, the most famous of them all is the mitarashi dango from Jinya Dango. The chewy, elastic dumplings paired with the mellow, fragrant soy sauce has made it beloved with the locals. The small store looks as though it would be in a samurai movie, and there are always people in front waiting to buy dango. If you come to Takayama, you definitely should stop by.
Business hours: 8:30 AM – 5 PM
Closed on Tuesdays (except from December to March, when they’re open every day)
HP: www.jalan.net/gourmet/grm_guide000000161270/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 1-1-8 Hachikenmachi, Takayama, Gifu
7. Hida Beef Nigiri
Sakaguchiya is a small shop but they are the creators of the Hida beef nigiri. It’s sushi made with Hida beef that’s covered with a special sauce then broiled. It’s so voluminous that it seems like the rice is hiding beneath the beef. You can order how done you want it to be, such as rare or medium rare etc., so make sure to mention it when you order. It’s something that you can only find in Hida Takayama.
This is Sakaguchiya’s Hida beef nigiri! You can eat the senbei plate too.
There are two interesting things about this restaurant. One of them is that they use senbei (rice crackers) as a plate for the sushi. This is so you can eat the senbei after you eat the sushi so there’s no trash and it’s good for the environment. Another one is the unique payment system. You put the money out and press a button so you can get change. It’s because it’s run by just one woman.
Business hours: 10:30 AM – 3 PM
Closed on Tuesdays
HP: http://hidatakayama-sakaguchiya.com/ (Japanese Only)
Address: 90 Kamisannomachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu
Access: 12 minute walk from JR Takayama Station
8. Beef Curry
Just a five minute walk from Takayama Station is a Japanese curry restaurant. They have a varied menu, but their most popular is the beef curry. It’s voluminous and spicy, so it’s a very satisfying dish. The manager makes the curry every day, and all of them have their own unique characteristics and impact. Not to say anything about their deep flavors! After you eat this curry, you’ll feel so strong you’ll be able to do intense exercise.
Within walking distance from the station is Jakuson Curry JAKSON. It’s always full of locals and tourists alike, since it’s a popular curry restaurant in Hida Takayama. Their original roux uses a large amount of onions and 28 different kinds of spices for a complex flavor with depth.
Business hours: 11:30 AM – 2:45 PM, 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Closed Thursdays (unless it’s a federal holiday)
Address: 5-5 Tenmanmachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu
Access: 5 minute walk from JR Takayama Station
9. Sake from Harada Sake Brewery
This building that looks like a stylish traditional home is actually a sake brewery that’s been in business for 160 years. They have a wide variety of Japanese sake from Junmai (sake made without added sugar or alcohol) to Daiginjo (top-quality sake) as well as sake-related items. If you buy a cup with a bull’s eye design in it, part of the brewery’s logo, you can taste test some of their wares. There are other Takayama regional liquors there that you can’t find elsewhere, so it would be good to stop by and make some memories of your trip. There’s quite a few varieties so if you don’t know what to pick you should ask an employee for recommendations.sansya.co.jp
One of the most highly rated Hida Takayama sake brands is is called Sanshu. It’s a regional sake that’s categorized by a delicate yet deep dryness and a fruity fragrance. It’s won accolades from international fairs and has won the top prize at Monde Selection. Cheesecake made with the Sanshu sake is currently very popular. The harmony between the cheese and the liquor is so good that many people buy it as a souvenir. It’s a cheesecake that has even impressed French patisseries. You should definitely try it!
Business hours: 9 AM – 6 PM (5:30 PM from December to March)
Open 365 days
Address: 10 Kamisannomachi, Takayama-shi, Gifu
Access: 10 minute walk from JR Takayama Station