A few miles outside of the mountain town of Takayama, the Hida Folk Village (or Hida no Sato) provides an excellent example of how the area’s residents lived in years past.
Alright, a bit of a boring intro (my creative juices just aren’t flowing today) but this place is anything but.
Over 30 houses from all over the Hida region were dismantled and reassembled here. While architecturally fascinating in many ways, their high slanted roofs (the gassho-zukuri or praying hands style) and numerous irori (hearths) only served to reinforce one main thing – winters here are cold and it snows. A lot. Slanted roofs let the snow slide off easily and fires keep the house warm and dry, avoiding mold in the wood and straw ceilings. Thankfully, a few of the homes had the coals lit when I visited on a VERY chilly November day.
Older kids will enjoy the chance to participate in the hands-on craft sessions. Try your hand at dipping candals or work with a traditional sandalmaker to twist together your own pair of zori. Schedules are posted at the front gate, though be aware that workshops run more frequently in the warm weather (it’s hard to be crafty when you can’t feel your hands).
For younger kids, the park provides plenty of space to run around. Circle the pond and feed the ducks or climb the stairs to the hillside shrine. There are plenty of buildings to peek into (shoes off) and if you’re lucky, you can time your visit to a performance on the site’s festival stage. And if little legs get too tired, the village has strollers available for use.
While this site doesn’t cater specfically to the younger crowd, there are enough activities here to make this a fun excursion for the whole family.
Check out Hida no Sato’s English website for more details including a schedule of yearly festivals on site.