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Takayama Sanno Matsuri (spring festival)

Takayama Sanno Matsuri (spring festival)

Jun 25th, 2005, 06:37 AM
  #1  
emd
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Takayama Sanno Matsuri (spring festival)

I will be in Japan next April w/my 13 yr old daughter and am considering going to the Takayama Sanno Matsuri. Has anyone gone to this? The floats look awesome and the marionette performances look good also. I am concerned about the crwods though, as I know Takayama is a small town. How crowded does it get during this festival? Is the crowd too large to be able to see/enjoy the festival and see the town as well?
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Jun 25th, 2005, 08:41 AM
  #2  
emd
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ALso, if you have been to this festival, are the events different enough each of the two days to warrant staying for both days?
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Jun 25th, 2005, 02:08 PM
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Crowded...crowded. For me, way too crowded. But if you don't mind crowds, then I think it would be excellent. Accommodation for that time has already been blocked by travel agencies, so you may have trouble finding somewhere to stay on your own. You may have to use JTB or another travel agency to find a room. In any case, book by December/January...and you probably can't book now, as most places won't book for 2006 yet.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 02:58 PM
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I called JTB in March about this year's Takayama Spring Festival and she actually thought that she could get me a room, but I decided not to go. I did learn that JTB uses the Best Western and the Washington hotels in Takayama (maybe there is a third).

In April, I went to bestwestern.com and tried a few dates in April/May 2006 and saw that reservations could be made around 50 weeks in advance. At the end of April I or the beginning of May I made reservations for April 13, 2006 for 3 nights at the Best Western Takayama. I have a single room at 10395 and a twin room at 18711. I just called BW to confirm the reservation (and to get the confo number to confirm online).
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Jun 25th, 2005, 04:22 PM
  #5  
emd
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mrwunrfl: Cool!

Anyone else have comments on the crowds? Are we talking Mardi Gras size crowds w/crush of people? Or is it possible to find a place on the float route where you can actually see the floats?
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Jun 25th, 2005, 04:22 PM
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I've not attended the matsuri, but I was in Takayama last week and visited the Yatai Kaikan that displays some of the floats. I watched their video presentation of the floats and puppets in action at the matsuri and was surprised that it didn't look all that crowded: lots of people, yes, but not seething masses. I suppose the number of hotel rooms and train seats sets a limit on how many can be there.

The Best Western is a very good hotel, by the way.

If you are into scenery and if the road is open that early in the year, I recommend the trip from Takayama to Kamikochi and then on to Matsumoto. There's a bus from Takayama at 8:20 that gives you plenty of time to do some of the walks before taking an afternoon bus to Matsumoto (the 16:40 is direct). The mountain road (particularly out of Kamikochi toward Matsumoto) is really spectacular (sit on the left).
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Jun 25th, 2005, 04:39 PM
  #7  
emd
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someotherguy, that info on the crowds in the video is very helpful. Will look into your suggested route as well. Thanks very much.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 05:06 PM
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I think it was the video or audio guide that said that the population of Takayama swells during the matsuri from something like 50,000 to 300,000. I am not at all sure of the numbers, but it was big.

I will post some more photos of Takayama and Kamikochi on my website soon.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 05:33 PM
  #9  
emd
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I've heard 160K people. 300K people is too many for me.
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Jun 26th, 2005, 08:07 AM
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According to JNTO, there is a Takayama Matsuri Festival of Hachimangu Shrine on 10/9 and 10 with "gala procession of ornate floats". Is this similar to the spring festival? I will be in the area this coming October. Sounds like it will be difficult to find accomodation though.
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Jun 26th, 2005, 09:48 AM
  #11  
emd
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Yes, it is the same- except that they have different floats that are used in the Oct. festival. Look here:

http://www.hidanet.ne.jp/e02/ematsuri/eharu.htm

You might still be able to get accomodations. See mrwunrfl's post above about his conversation w/JTB. Also, I emailed a few smaller places yesterday that actually do their own bookings for the periods during the festivals and they both told me to email them 6 months ahead, on Oct. 1, for the spring festival. So reservations that open up 6 motnhs before the Oct. festival may still be available.
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Jun 26th, 2005, 10:24 AM
  #12  
emd
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When you get to that page, click on Background of the Takayama Matsuri festival at the bottom of the page, adn it will take you to a page where you can click on the autumn festival and get info about it.
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Jun 26th, 2005, 10:43 AM
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emd, thanks for the info. I guess getting there by 10/8 would make the most sense since it looks like a full day/night activity on 10/9. As of now I am supposed to be in Takayama on 10/5-7 and then leaving for Shirakawago/Kanazawa/Kyoto. Maybe I will head to Kyoto from Tokyo first then Taka?
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Jun 26th, 2005, 10:49 AM
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I should probably call JTB tomorrow to see about accommodation first though. I am thinking about Seriyu or Sumiyoshi although given the festival they are probably full already. Maybe even trying japaneseguesthouse.com.
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