Takayama: About

Takayama Japan



Pronunciation: tah-key-yam-ah


Region: Central Japan. Located in Chūbu region, Gifu prefecture.


Population: 95,778 (2007)


Mayor: Michihiro Kunishima


Spoken Languages: Japanese


Formalization: 1960. Denver’s 2nd Sister City.


Did You Know?: The city of Takayama is known for its breathtaking carpentry—it is believed that its famed crafters worked on the Imperial Palace and many temples throughout Kyoto.
  • Takayama is located in central Japan in the Gifu prefecture of the Chubu region.


  • With almost 100,000 residents, the city is known for its breathtaking carpentry.


  • It is believed that the city’s carpenters also helped with more famous structures like the Imperial Palace.


  • The history of Takayama dates back to the prehistoric age.  Many ancient peoples lived there, evident by the great number of relics and remains of the Stone Age that have been excavated in the city.


  • After the Reformation of the Taika (645 A.D.), the imperial governor was sent to that part of the country.   The people there were very poor at that time so the government classified this area as a low-class district in taxation.  The government then ordered the inhabitants to go to Nara, the capital at that time, to serve in the compulsory labors.  Because of their skill in working with wood, Takayama residents built the imperial temples and shrines.  As time went on, these people became known at “Artisans of Hida” for their skill in construction and sculpture.


  • The birth of modern Takayama dates from the Muromachi Period (1504 – 1520 A.D.) when one of the powerful families built a castle on the top of Shiroyama HIll and ruled the area.


  • By the government of Kanamori family, which lasted for 107 years, the present structure of the town was formed by putting the political, economic and cultural systems in order as a center of the administrations of the region.  This was a culturally-minded family who encouraged the artisans to make various handcrafts.  Their skillful technology continues to receive high praise today.


  • In 1936, the town was reorganized as a municipality and in 2007, by the last annexation of nine towns and villages, Takayama became the largest city in Japan by area.