The Ultimate Guide to Restaurants in Takayama for 2023
by Coco Tran On September 19, 2023
Takayama is a charming historical town in the Japanese Alps known for its beautifully preserved old town, traditional wooden buildings, festivals, and delicious local cuisine. With its remote mountain location, Takayama has developed its own unique food culture and is a must-visit for food lovers exploring Japan.
The Ultimate Guide to Restaurants in Takayama
This article will provide an in-depth guide on the best restaurants to visit in Takayama, from long-established traditional eateries to hip modern cafes. We’ll cover the following:
- Quick Summary of Takayama’s Food Scene
- Best Restaurants for Hida Beef
- Best Restaurants for Ramen Noodles
- Best Restaurants for Soba Noodles
- Best Restaurants for Miso Dishes
- Best Restaurants for Traditional Japanese Cuisine
- Other Notable Restaurants & Must Try Foods in Takayama
Whether you’re looking for the perfect spot to sample Hida beef, slurp soba noodles, or simply relax at a cafe between sightseeing, this guide has you covered on the top dining spots in Takayama for 2023.
Quick Summary of Takayama’s Food Scene
Situated high up in the Japan Alps, Takayama has a remote mountain town vibe and local cuisine to match. Some highlights of the local food scene include:
- Hida Beef – Exquisitely marbled, tender beef from local Hida cattle. A top specialty.
- Soba noodles – Buckwheat noodles made from soba flour produced in the Hida region. Tasted fresh, chewy, and nutty.
- Miso dishes – From miso soup to marinated miso beef, miso is a staple seasoning. The miso here uses soybeans also grown locally.
- Mountain vegetables – Fresh foraged mushrooms like matsutake and vegetables like Japanese yams are prized ingredients.
- Traditional eateries – From cozy traditional inns (ryokan) to old soba shops, many decades-old dining spots can be found across town.
- Local craft beer – Takayama has several breweries crafting beer with pristine mountain water.
- Morning markets – Jinya morning market offers a fun glimpse into daily breakfast and Japanese street food.
With its remote location and artisanal local produce, Takayama offers a delightful taste of old world Japan. Read on for the best restaurants to sample the local flavors!
Best Restaurants in Takayama for Hida Beef
No trip to Takayama is complete without savoring the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of Hida beef. Here are the best restaurants for indulging in this premium regional specialty:
Famous for its Hida beef sukiyaki, Suzuya is a long-standing restaurant housed in a traditional wooden merchant house. The atmosphere is warm and homey. Their tender Hida beef sukiyaki batch cooked at your table in a cast iron pot is a quintessential taste of Takayama.
1-50 Sowamachi, Takayama 506-0007 Gifu PrefectureHanakawamachi, Takayama, Gifu
Recommended dishes: Hida beef sukiyaki, Hida beef shabu shabu, Hida Beef Yaniku
A very well rated and highly recommended restaurant serving Takayamas Hida-gyu beef cooked a variety of ways, including grilled and served as sukiyaki or shabu shabu.
address: 6-8 Tenman-machi
Recommended dishes : (Hida-gyu beef, sukiyaki, shabu shabu)
check out this little sushi shop called Sakaguchiya if you’re ever in Takayama. It’s this tiny spot that serves up the best sushi in town with Hida beef on top – they were actually the first place to do Hida beef sushi! You can either sit down inside or just order through the little window on the side.
And then there’s Kottegyu – total hot spot for Hida beef sushi in the Sanmanchi street area. You’ll always see people lined up outside this stall, but don’t stress – the line moves fast. It’s easily one of the top 3 foods you gotta try while you’re in Takayama.
Address; 34 Kamisannomachi, Takayama City, Gifu Prefecture . About 15 minutes walk from Takayama Station. Located in the old town of Takayama.
Kihachiro Honten (喜八郎)
When visiting Takayama, you’ll want to sample the local specialty – Hida Gyuman steamed buns. These fluffy buns are stuffed with tender, juicy Hida beef and veggies. At first glance they look soft and pillowy, but the flavor will surprise you – the beef filling is so succulent and full of flavor! The gyuman make a satisfying snack as you explore the city.
For the best gyuman in town, check out Kihachiro. This shop only uses fresh, high-quality Hida beef in their buns. Customers rave about how delicious and moist the meat filling is. The buns apparently melt in your mouth. Be sure to add Kihachiro to your Takayama itinerary to taste these incredible gyuman for yourself. They are a can’t-miss food experience when visiting the area!
Best Restaurants in Takayama for Ramen Noodles
Ramen is seriously one of my personal favorite foods when I visit Japan. I’m obsessed with how each region has their own unique ramen game going on – the broth, the noodles, the toppings…there’s so much delicious variety! I gotta admit, I’m pretty picky about the perfect broth richness and noodle thickness when it comes to ramen. Hey, we all have our preferences right?
Anyway, the best part about ramen in Takayama in my opinion is getting to taste the legit, old-school bowls made by local shops. You really can’t beat that classic regional flavor. Gotta have a piping hot bowl of Takayama ramen when you’re exploring the city, it’s a must!
One shop I’d highly recommend for killer traditional Takayama ramen are:
This family-run spot has been serving up their signature curly noodles and flavored broth for 70 years. If you really want to experience authentic local ramen, this is the place to go. Their broth and noodles are So. Good.
Just trust me on this one – put Mame Tengu at the top of your Takayama food tour list. You won’t regret it!
This is A delicious ramen restaurant in Takayama known for their savory shoyu ramen . They serve one bowl and that’s what makes it so delicious. There’s really only one choice to make here when ordering: name (regular) or dai (large).
Recommended dishes: Shoyu Ramen
“Kajibashi” is a popular restaurant in the heart of Takayama well known for its soba and ramen topped with Hida beef, a specialty Wagyu beef from the Gifu prefecture. A must-eat regional specialty if you are in the area !
Recommended dishes: Ramen with Hida Beef
Best Restaurants in Takayama for Soba Noodles
As the Hida region provides high quality buckwheat flour, soba noodle dishes are a Takayama specialty. For the freshest noodles and broths, try these top soba shops:
Tsuzumi soba (つづみそば)
A historic soba shop founded in 1956, Tsuzumi serves their signature “Chuka-soba (中華そば)” made with the finest local soba flour and mountain spring water. ” Their tempura and other noodle dishes are also excellent. Expect to wait in line at this popular spot.
Tip: they don’t have ticket vending machine. Payment is required before you get out from the shop.
Address: 52 Asahimachi, Takayama, Gifu 506-0017
Recommended dishes: soba, tempura soba
soba noodle restaurant in Takayama called Sumikyu that really impressed us. This place apparently earned a Michelin recommendation for their soba, which has been handmade for 4 generations using traditional methods. The fresh soba noodles are made daily and sell out quick, so go early if you want to try them!
We ordered both hot and cold soba dishes. The cold sansai zaru soba featured long buckwheat noodles artfully arranged on a magnolia leaf, topped with a mix of locally-sourced Takayama vegetables, mushrooms, greens, radish puree and a quail egg. You combine the components and dip into the broth – it made for a beautifully presented dish.
The hot amago soba also stood out, with a full sweet amago fish served atop the noodles and broth rich with wild mushrooms. Both noodle dishes highlighted the fresh, quality ingredients of the Gifu region.
You can tell Sumikyu is dedicated to traditional soba-making techniques. Foodies seeking the best noodles in Takayama should consider adding this Michelin-recommended spot to their itinerary!
Other Japan Articles
Best Restaurants in Takayama for Miso Dishes
As a center of soybean production, Takayama has developed a unique miso culture and many restaurants specialize in miso-based dishes. Here are top picks for savoring local Hida miso:
Hida Takayama Kyoya
The miso here is fantastic, they serve a other traditional dishes such as sahimi and hida beef.
Address: 1-77 Oshinmachi, 506-0851 Takayama, Japan
This charming restaurant in a traditional townhouse serves creative modern kaiseki menus based around seasonal ingredients and miso flavors. Their courtyard garden seating is a highlight.
Recommended dishes: Tasting menu, miso butter fish
Best Restaurants in Takayama for Traditional Japanese Cuisine & Takayama Famous Food
Street Food at Morning Markets In Takayama
Must Try Street Food At The Takayama Morning Markets
- Hida beef sushi/ Hida beef nigiri
- Hida Beef Bun: a plump steamed bun filled with sweet Hida beef and bamboo shoot
- Hida Beef Skewer: grilled Hida beef on a skewer
Takayama Morning Markets Hours
Takayama Jinya Market: 6:00 to 12:00 (from 7:00 from Jan to Mar)
Miyagawa Market: 7:00 to 12:00 (from 8:00 from Dec to Mar)
Mitarashi Dango in Takayama
When you’re exploring Takayama, keep an eye out for Mitarashi Dango – it’s a classic Japanese snack you’ve gotta try. They’re these little sticky mochi rice balls on a skewer, grilled and coated in a sweet-salty sauce. So good!
You’ll see Mitarashi Dango for sale all over town, but every shop has their own sauce recipes and loyal customers. If you want the best of the best, I’d hit up either Sangawaya or Jinya Dango. These two spots are famous for their next-level Mitarashi Dango that have people coming back for more.
No matter where you get them, Mitarashi Dango are a tasty Takayama specialty. Be sure to grab a skewer during your visit! The sweet-savory sauce over warm, chewy mochi is the perfect snack as you walk around town. Gotta try it.
Sake Tasting in Takayama
The mountainous Gifu region is known for producing top-notch sake thanks to the great weather and freshwater there. Takayama used to be sake central back in the day with tons of breweries, but now there’s only a handful left – which means the sake they make is seriously amazing!
When wandering around Takayama, keep an eye out for the big cedar balls (called sugidama) or traditional barrels (sakadaru) out front of sake shops. That’s how you know you’ve found one! Gotta stop in to try or buy some sake as a souvenir.
If you want to sample a bunch of different kinds, go for a sake tasting! My personal rec is this Sake Tour – you buy a sake cup from the owner and can try all 12+ sakes they make. Some you can only get in Takayama. Make sure to ask the staff what they recommend if you’re unsure where to start.
The sake in Takayama is top-notch thanks to the local climate and water. Don’t miss out on tasting some during your visit!
Multi-course kaiseki meal at a ryokan
You should definately stay at a Ryokan in Takayama and experience a muilti course Keiseki meals from the Ryokan. It’s an experience like no other. A perfect way to do some R&R and rest your weary walking feet for a day. We stayed at This Ryokan in Takayama. Read more about my experience here.
You can still enjoy a Keiseki meal without staying at a ryokan, there are several restaurants that offer this dinner service.
Other Notable Restaurants & Food Souvenirs
Beyond the categories above, here are other excellent dining spots and some edible souvenirs to take home from Takayama:
- Irori Dining Tenjin – Dine around a cosy sunken hearth hotpot. Address: 87 Tenman-machi, Takayama, Gifu 506-0025, Japan
- Center4 Hamburgers – Juicy gourmet burgers and craft beer in a hip renovated warehouse. Address: 4-3 Tenman-machi, Takayama, Gifu 506-0025, Japan
- Tajimaya Sakaba – Lively downtown izakaya pub with small bites and drinks in a friendly atmosphere. Address: 1-23 Hanakuracho, Takayama, Gifu 506-0025, Japan
- Sunday Farmer’s Market – Pick up fresh produce, street snacks and lunch bento boxes at this weekly open-air market. In front of Takayama Jinya.
- Sanshokudo Cafe – Quaint cafe specializing in fluffy souffle pancakes. Address: 45 Kamini-no-machi, Takayama, Gifu 506-0021, Japan
- Nara Sushi – Historic sushi restaurant opened in 1931, known for pressed sushi. Address: 6-13 Tenman-machi, Takayama, Gifu 506-0025, Japan
Edible souvenirs – Take home miso, mochi rice cakes, Hida maple syrup candies, ramen kits and local sake as food souvenirs from Takayama. Find them at stores like Takumi-ya or Sunday Farmer’s Market.
With its remote mountain setting, Takayama has nurtured a vibrant local food culture and no shortage of fantastic dining spots to experience it. From century-old Hida beef and soba shops to contemporary cafes and brewpubs, this guide covers the best restaurants in Takayama across cuisines and prices. Treasure the chance to savor Takayama’s local flavors and friendly old-town dining atmosphere as you explore this Japanese gem. Just don’t leave without trying the famous Hida beef at least once!
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