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I'll be passing through Takayama Japan in mid-March, arriving by train from Toyama, staying one or two nights, then moving on by train to Nagoya.

I assumed that everything was happening in the town itself, but when I looked for hotels, they all seem to be located in the mountains to the east. What's the story there? Is it worth staying in the mountains rather, given the great rates, and in March? And is there convenient affordable transport from the town up to the mountain accommodations?

For example, I was looking at Nakao Kogen 4* hotel, and Kayeza Group 4* as well, with breakfast and dinner options at amazing rates.

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    This question is (mostly) about geography, not opinions. – jpatokal Feb 6 at 21:59
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    Travel questions are generally going to involve more opinions than software development - I would be careful with applying the same level of officiating to the Travel section of StackExchange, otherwise users will just head back to TripAdvisor. – Savage Feb 7 at 8:09
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    This is a bad question for several reasons. It actually asks three questions; one is unclear, the second is entirely opinion-based (I personally hate ryokans and wouldn't stay in one even if you paid me), and the third is too broad (depends on the exact place you want to reach). – fkraiem Feb 7 at 13:09
  • Thank you to the person who cleared the "on hold" status. I've noted the feedback, thanks. – Savage Feb 8 at 10:45
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The key to understanding what's happening with your hotel search is that Japanese cities are administrative units that cover a lot more than the actual city core. For example, Tokyo-to (metropolis) extends far west into basically uninhabited mountains and 1000 miles south to cover a bunch of tiny islands too, and Takayama-shi covers most of northern Gifu prefecture:

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So. The Japan Alps area of Takayama-shi is known for hot springs inns (温泉旅館 onsen ryokan), and most resorts in the mountains focus on this. There's also skiing in the winter (you might still manage this in March) and hiking in the summer (but most trails won't open until June-July).

Takayama the actual city has attractions too, most notably the Hida Minzoku Folk Village, but other than that it's "just" a smallish city and not a major draw.

Personally, I would definitely go with the mountain hot springs: I've stayed at one in nearby Oku-Hida and it was one of the best I've been to in Japan (and I've been to a few!). Public transport in these parts is pretty spotty, so renting a car is a good idea, but most ryokan can come pick you up from the nearest train station if you arrange this in advance.

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    Great answer, thanks. Hopefully I can get reasonably priced transport to the mountains. – Savage Feb 7 at 8:08
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    I mistakenly thought that Takayama was a quaint village before visiting (possibly because the name translated literally as “high mountain”), but no, it’s a normal city. – Andrew Grimm Feb 8 at 13:29

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