July 2013
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Travel – Takayama Festival – Japan – Part 2

The Takayama Festivals are organized in Takayama that is located in Japan.

Puppets in The Takayama Festivals

The puppets, also known as marionettes are prepared from:
– Wood
– Silk
– Brocade
– Embroidered cloth
• Strings and push rods that are within the yatai operate these puppets.
• Karakuri is a mechanical puppet.
• These plays are performed on a stage.
• The puppets represent the craftsman.
• The puppets or The 3 marionettes which are present on Hotei Tai need nine puppet masters.
• They use 36 strings attached to these puppets to make them move life like.
• They show gestures, doturns and other movements.
• Right whale baleen is used for making springs of these puppets.
• These cannot be replaced with other whale baleens or steel.
• Hence, the repair is a problem.
• No other material can provide life like movement for these puppets.
• The Spring Festival takes place from April 14-15.
• It is an annual festival of the Hie Shrine.
• This takes place in the south half of Takayama’s old town.
• The name of the shrine is called as Sanno-sama.
• Hence, the spring festival is also given the name of the shrine, Sanno Festival.
• The Autumn Festival takes place from October 9-10.
• It is an yearly festival of the Hachiman Shrine.
• This shrine is in the north half of the old town.
• Hence, the name of the autumn festival is also called Hachiman Festival.
• Both the spring and autumn festivals have same attractions.
• They also carry same schedules.
• Each of these festivals offers a set of dozen festival floats.
• The tall and heavily decorated floats all through the year are stored in storehouses.
• A set of replica floats are put for exhibition all round the year.
• They are present at the Matsuri no Mori festival museum.

Main attractions of the Takayama Festival

Display of festival floats
• April 14 and 15: 9:30 AM to 16:00 PM
• October 9 and 10: 9:00 AM to 16:00 PM
• Both these festival days, the floats or yatai are put for display from morning to late afternoon.
• They are seen on the streets of Takayama.

Karakuri Performance
• April 14: 11:00 AM and 15:00 PM
• April 15: 10:00 AM and 14:00 PM
• October 9: 12:00 AM and 15:00 PM
• October 10: 11:00 AM and 13:00 PM
• There are mechanical dolls which they call as karakuri ningyo which decorate the floats or yati.
• These can move and dance.
• Karakuri doll or puppet performances take place on both days of the festival.
• One can view them at scheduled times and places.
• In an abnormal weather, these performances are performed in the storehouses.

Mikoshi Procession
• April 14: departs at 13:00 PM
• April 15: returns at 16:00 PM
• October 9: departs at 13:00 PM
• October 10: returns at 16:00 PM
• A portable shrine also known by the name mikoshi is taken all through the town during these 2 days in the form of a parade.
• The parade starts from the shrine and ends at the same.
• The mikoshi has Shinto deity.
• It is the only time when this deity is taken all around the town leaving its shrine.

Evening Festival
• April 14: 18:30 PM to 21:00 PM
• October 9: 18:00 PM to 21:00 PM
• On the first day, these festival floats are taken around the streets of the old town in the evening.
• This takes about 2-3 hours.
• This is considered the highlight of the festival.
• The evening parade of the floats is also known as yomatsuri.
• It is very crowded when both the festival days fall on a weekend or national holiday.
• This is because the neighboring hotels and locally to Takayama are accommodated in advance.
• Neighboring towns to Takayama are Furukawa and Gero Onsen.
• People even stay here to take part in this festival.

Best time to visit / climate

• Japan’s climate is predominantly temperate.
• It varies highly from north to south.
Japan’s geographical features are split into 6 principal climatic zones:
– Hokkaido
– Sea of Japan
– Central Highland
– Seto Inland Sea
– Pacific Ocean
– Ryukyu Islands
• The northernmost zone, Hokkaido, offers a humid continental climate.
• It provides long and cold winters.
• It has very warm to cool summers.
• Precipitation is not heavy.
• In winter, the islands form snowbanks.
• The winter temperature on an average in Japan is: 5.1 °C.
• The summer temperature on an average in Japan is: 25.2 °C
• The highest temperature in Japan measured is 40.9 °C.
• The rainy season starts in early May.
• It starts in Okinawa.
• It slowly moves towards north.
• It then reaches Hokkaido in late July.
• This season starts in June mid and stays for 6 weeks, In Honshu.
• Typhoons emerge in late summer and early autumn.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

1. By train via Nagoya
• From Tokyo to Nagoya, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen.
• It takes about 100-120 mins.
• There are many trains in an hour.
• Get a transfer to the JR Hida limited express train which goes to Takayama.
• It takes about 140 mins.
• There is only one train in an hour.
• One way journey in total takes 4.5 hours.
• It prices around 14,000 yen.
• It can be fully covered if you use a Japan Rail Pass.
• You can use it in a Hikari train that travels between Tokyo and Nagoya.
• Nozomi train fares are not covered by this pass.

JTB’s Takayama two-Day Train & Hotel Package tour
This package includes:
• A round trip from Tokyo to Takayama
• This is taken by shinkansen and limited express
• Accommodation in Takayama
– Cost of 30,500 yen.
– One-way package for 20,500 yen.

2. By train and bus via Matsumoto
This is a slower but a more direct route via Matsumoto and through the Northern Alps.
– from Tokyo to Matsumoto
– from Matsumoto to Takayama
• JR East Pass holders can go to Takayama using a discounted round trip bus ticket.
• It is about 2500 yen.
• It starts from Matsumoto.
The discount ticket can be availed from:
– Narita Airport
– Haneda Airport
JR East Pass covered the entire train ride between Tokyo and Matsumoto.

3. By highway bus
• There are around 6 buses on highway in the daytime in a day.
• They are round trips between Tokyo and Takayama.
They are operated by:
– Keio
– Nohi Bus
The one way trip:
– Costs 6,500 yen
– Time: 5.5 hours
A round trip ticket:
– Costs only 11,700 yen
• Return trip should be within 7 days of the start date.
• There is facility of an overnight bus during summer holidays

Two sightseeing buses are available:
The Machinami Bus
– 100 yen/ride
– Runs hourly
– Circular route between the station and the old town.

Sarubobo Bus
– 200 yen/ride
– Runs every 20-50 minutes

Some Travel Books on Japan

Japan Japan by Rail, 3rd DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Japan

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at tripadvisor.com
Hotels at asiarooms.com
Hotels at agoda.com
Hotels at booking.com

Blogs / Sites about Takayama Festival – Japan

blogs at hida.jp
blogs at japan-guide.com
blogs at wikipedia.org
blogs and reviews at tripadvisor.com

Images and photos about Takayama Festival – Japan

images at japan-guide.com
images at hida.jp
images at wikipedia.org
images at google.com

Videos of Takayama Festival – Japan

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