Opening from approximately 7:00AM until noon, the Morning Markets (Asaichi) is one of many famed attractions of Takayama. These markets are in two places in Takayama: alongside the Miyagawa River and in front of Takayama Jinya. The Takayama Morning Markets first developed in the Edo Period when Takayama was a city that mainly sold rice, mulberry and flowers. From the middle of the Meiji Period, farmer’s wives lined up their farmed vegetables to sell and accordingly, became known as “asaichi” (morning market). Because the Miyagawa River was in closer proximity to my accommodation, my friends and I made our way to the Miyagawa Morning Market. To my surprise, the area was a lot more crowded than I had imagined.
According to online sources, more than 40 shops can be found alongside the Miyagawa River. Indeed, the street was narrow but lively and full of eager vendors. At the market, we found local products such as: handmade crafts (candles, wooden craft, calligraphy art, etc), pickles, and freshly farmed fruits and vegetables made in Takayama by craftsmen and farmers. In particular, one of the more famous local products in Takayama, where you could find anywhere at the market, included the sarubobo, which was an amulet often made by grandmothers for their grandchildren in the past as dolls.
The sarubobo also is associated with protecting one from bad omens, allowing a safe childbirth for women, as well as a good home. One thing I appreciated and found to be very hospitable about Takayama was that many of the stalls at the market had English translations available following the Japanese words on their signs. This made a lot of sense since foreign tourists often visited the morning markets. Vendors were kind enough to explain what went into making their products and even encouraging bystanders to try free samples! At one point, my friends and I came across something called the matatabi. The vendor told us of the health benefits, and of its medicinal uses! It was quite tasty.
Many of the stalls served typical, yet delicious festival foods like takoyaki (octopus balls), castella, fried kani kamoboko on a stick (imitation crab), corn on a stick, and kakigori (shaved ice) making it feel like a festival every day. I had some crushed frozen strawberry kakigori while my friend had a kani kamoboko stick. After observing and buying our souvenirs and street foods, we finally made it to the other side of the street where we had the view of the gorgeous river from the bridge.
Because it was the day of the Takayama Hachiman Festival, which is one of the three most famous festivals in Japan, we could later view the mikoshi (festival float carrying the shrine’s deity) that would pass through bridge. The festival offered the only time of year when the shrine’s deity would leave the shrine and go throughout the town and then back to the shrine. Being this of a lively attraction in this area, it would be a shame to miss out on the festival, as many of the local products and local attractions would not be found just anywhere in Takayama.
|Title||Hida Takayama (Miyagawa) Morning Market|
|Address||506-0841 Gifu Prefecture, Takayama, Shimosannomachi|
|Admission Fee||Free to visit|
|Opening hours||07:00-12:00 (April-October, Summer: 6:00AM) (November-March, Winter 7:00AM)|
|Getting there||9min walk from Takayama Station|