The museum opened in 1971 with the aim of preserving Takayama’s local culture and providing a platform to exhibit the iconic gassho-zukuri architecture and Edo period artifacts. There are over 30 gassho houses spread around the grounds of the museum and each is furnished with signs and information in English. In addition, there is a resting place with a café attached, from which you can have a good view over Goami Pond. Just around the corner from the resting place is Yoshizane’s House, famous for the forked pillar which kept the house standing in the earthquake of 1858. Of particular interest are the traditional oxen and the lavatory (only for display) in the front garden of this historic house.
Open all year round (except Thursdays), the folk museum is perfect for visitors of all ages and has numerous seasonal events and festivals. The village is one of the many spots in Gifu that is worth the visit no matter the season. In the thick of winter, gassho-zukuri houses are covered in a blanket of snow and lit up by the colourful lights of evening illuminations.
As the snow melts, the summer flowers bloom and you can witness the planting and harvesting of rice in the large wheel-shaped rice paddies. Around the Takumi shrine, the leaves turn a fiery red in autumn and there are some cherry blossoms around the far side of Goami Pond which bloom in spring. No matter the time of year, the view from Hida Folk Village is one of the best ways to look out over Takayama City.
Along the Goami Pond, there are a few free activities to keep you busy, including balancing on ancient Japanese stilts or trying your hand at traditional wooden spinning tops. There is also the opportunity to make your own origami, be it a carp or a samurai helmet, all with step-by-step instructions available in English. The museum has designed their own stamps to be entered in a stamp book that you can pick up from the information centre when you enter the village.
Remember to keep your ticket if you are planning on learning some local crafts at Hida Takayama Crafts Experience Center as it affords you a discount on one of the 10 craft activities available. The Crafts Experience Centre is just across from the Hida no Sato parking lot and is open to all who wish to learn how to make sarubobo dolls (a doll popular to the area), ceramic cups or glass wind chimes. Reservations aren’t necessary and classes cost anywhere from 600 to 1,600 yen. If you take the Sarubobo Bus you can get to the folk village in about 10 minutes, and for just 930 yen you can get a special discount ticket that includes entrance to the museum and a round trip bus ticket.