Takayama is famous for many things. One of those is its festivals. The Takayama Festival is considered to be one of the most beautiful festivals in all of Japan. During this time, elaborately decorated hundreds of years old floats are paraded around town. During the rest of the year, these floats are stored in special thickwalled storehouses with very tall doors throughout the city. A few are exhibited for visitors to see at the Flat Exhibition Hall. Next door is the Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine, dating from the time of the Emperor Nintoku (413-439), a beautiful, quiet area to walk around and contemplate life.
Just down the hill from both is Café & Gallery Takayamawarajiya. This was a fantastic little stop run by an elderly couple who were so sweet and generous. We spent a lot of time here and what was supposed to be a quick coffee stop turned into a highlight of the day for all of us. We had locally made hot apple juice, cow cow yogurt made from milk from the famous Hida cows, matcha tea, coffee and, of course, a hot chocolate. Inside there is a what looks like a mixture between a shop, gallery and quirky museum with several pieces of pottery for sale. Drinks come with candied persimmon, something we were eating a lot of on this trip. The highlight for all of us here, apart from the fantastic owners, was the amazing latte art on my hot chocolate. If you are a coffee drinker, you will be blown away. The owner has an obvious passion, and talent for making coffee.
This whole area of town is beautiful and very quiet. There is a stream that goes through and lots of residents were hanging persimmons from their windows to dry in the sun.
Verdict: Must visit café. Gallery & Café Warajiya, 170-1.3, Hachimanmachi, Takayama, Japan