Situated on the river of the same name, Takahashi is home to one of Japan's 12 original castles, Bitchū-Matsuyama Castle. The town is also renowned for the beautiful Zen gardens of the Raikyū-ji Temple, and has retained some traditional districts with white samurai and merchant houses.
Takahashi lies 50km north of Kurashiki and Okayama, it makes a good day trip from either.
Raikyū-ji Temple 頼久寺
Raikyū-ji Temple (open 9:00 am- 5:00 pm, entry ￥300) was founded in 1339, under the rule of shōgun Ashikaga Takauji, and was then named Ankoku-ji Temple. The Zen gardens were laid in 1604 by the famous master designer Kobori Enshu, and use the nearby Mount Atago as borrowed scenery. It is located 1km north of Bitchū-Matsuyama Station.
Bitchū-Matsuyama Castle 備中松山城
Bitchū-Matsuyama Castle is the oldest of the 12 original castles surviving in Japan. It dates back to 1240, a period when castles were still built on the top of mountains rather than in plains surrounded by a moat. Because of this it is also the highest castle in Japan (430m), which does not facilitate its access.
The castle lies about 3km north of Bitchū-Matsuyama Station, and there is no public transport going there, so you will need to hike or take a taxi. The castle is open everyday from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm (until 4:00pm from October to March), and admission costs ￥300.
- Takahashi Samurai House Museum (高梁市武家屋敷館, open 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, ￥300)
- Takahashi Merchant House Museum (高梁市商家資料館池上邸, open 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, ￥300)
- Local History Museum (郷土資料館, open 9:00 am - 5:00 pm)
How to get there
The train station for Takahashi is Bitchu-Takahashi on the Hakubi-line. The easiest way to get there is from Kurashiki (35min, ￥570).
The nearest airports is in Okayama.