Hida-Takayama, as known as Takayama city is located in Gifu prefecture, a middle of Japan with lots of mountains. This city is famous for preserved old town, historic district lined with wooden merchants’houses dating to the Edo Period.
Takayama is also known for its inhabitants’ expertise in carpentry and it is believed carpenters from Takayama worked on the Imperial Palace in Kyoto and on many of the temples in Kyoto and Nara.
They have a special doll called Sarubobo, the dolls of baby monkeys, curious little fellows which have long been passed down in this Hida Takayama region. Saru means monkey and Bobo means baby in this region. Saru has an additional meaning “to leave” in Japanese, representing how sarubobo are thought to protect their owners from misfortune. They are also said to bring their holders good luck with pregnancy and safe childbirth.
Traditionally, red colored sarubobo were famous and basic and now there are pink for bringing romance, yellow for inviting wealth and green for good health and so on.
You’ll find them in any souvenir shop in this Hida Takayama area.