The Takayama Festivals are considered one of the three
most beautiful festivals in Japan alongside the Gion
Matsuri and Chichibu Yomatsuri. Takayama Spring
Festival has 12 antique yatai (floats) that are lavishly
crafted. The floats showcase the craftsmanship, which
dates back hundreds of years ago. This event has been
held annually on April 14th and 15th to signify the
beginning of spring in Takayama. The first time the
Takayama Spring Festival was held is unknown, there
are records going back to mid-17th century. Hie Shrine
hosts this annual festival and is located in the southern
part of Old Town in Takayama. It is also referred to as
Sanno-sama and thus the spring festivities are also
known as Sanno Festival.
Takayama Autumn Festival is also known as Takayama Hachiman Festival because it hosted by the Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine. The main event of the festival is the parade with eleven yatai (floats), which are designated as Significant Intangible Folk Cultural Assets in Japan. These floats are decorated with detailed carvings, tapestries, and karakuri dolls (marionettes). For the Takayama Autumn Festival master artisans called Hida no Takumi crafted these floats that date back to the 17th and 18th century. The craftsmanship on the yatai rivals the work done on the Yomeimon Gate in Nikko.