Roots of Japan

Gihu

Gifu is an inland prefecture, without access to the ocean, nevertheless, it is a region rich in natural resources with a thriving agricultural and forest industry.There is no airport in Gifu, but this doesn't mean it isn't easily accessible.There is the Nagoya airport in neighboring Aichi prefecture and the Shinkansen has a stop at Gifu-Hashima Station.Keep reading to find out more about Gifu’s charming sightseeing spots and hot springs.

Gifu has an approximate area of 10,621㎢ and an estimated population of 2 million people.The local climate varies considerably depending on the area.For example, most of the Mino region has a Pacific climate, whereas most of the Hida region and part of the Mino region has a Japan Sea climate.The considerable variation in altitude found in Gifu makes for a large difference in climate.For that reason, heavy snowfall is common in some areas.As the climate changes depending on the area, it would be better to check the weather forecast and temperature beforehand for each area you plan to visit.

Today we will highlight the tourist attractions you will definitely want to visit when you’re in Gifu.Shirakawago might be the most famous area but there is a lot more to explore!
1/ Shirakawago Gassho-zukuri Village
2/ Hida Folk Village
3/ Hida Takayama Museum of Art
4/ Hida Great Limestone Cave
5/ Yoro Falls
6/ Ogaki Castle
7/ Sekigahara Limestone Cave
8/ Sekigahara War Land
9/ Mosaic Tile Museum
10/ Kokeizan Eihoji Temple

Gifu is famous as the location of the Battle of Sekigahara which occurred within the Toyotomi administration after the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.As a result, there are many sites related to this battle in the area.One of them is Sekigahara War Land, a theme park that re-creates this momentous battle.It has an informal atmosphere and it’s a place that kids will enjoy without getting bored.You’ll enjoy looking out for details that may be a little different to what you have learned before.Kashihara town in Tajimi city is the number one producer of mosaic tiles in Japan.The Mosaic Tile Museum was opened in 2016 as a related facility.Come and take a look at the wonder and beauty of mosaic tiles.

Next, let's take a look at some of Gifu's best cherry blossom spots.If you visit during the cherry blossom season, you might like to add some of these places to your itinerary.
1/ Gifu Park / Nagaragawa Riverbed
2/ Sunomata Castle Ruin Park
3/ Usuzumi Zakura
4/ Mt. Suido
5/ Shokawa Zakura

Gifu is full of great cherry blossom spots, but we picked out these five as our favorites.Usuzumi Zakura is one of Japan's three great cherry trees.This spectacular Edo-higan cherry tree is over 1,500 years old.You can also enjoy the beautiful sight of these blossoms illuminated at night.The two giant Shokawa Zakura cherry trees are approximately 500 years old.Designated as a Natural Monument by Gifu Prefecture, they are definitely worth a visit.

Next, here are some of the best spots to see autumn colors.With its thriving forestry industry, Gifu is rich in nature and home to a number of places where you can enjoy impressive displays of autumn foliage.Here are our top picks.
1/ Sogi Park
2/ Oyata Momiji-tani
3/ Tara-kyo Gorge
4/ Ibikyo
5/ Yoro Park

Every year in mid-November the autumn leaves in Sogi Park are lit up.The reflection of these autumn colors on water of the park’s eight ponds is simply spectacular.Many tourists visit to enjoy “upside-down autumn colors”.If you plan to visit Gifu around mid-November, come to Sogi Park and treat yourself to a relaxing time out while you enjoy the stunning beauty of the autumn colors.Yoro Park is also a great place to admire autumn colors while taking a leisurely stroll.Enjoy the autumn foliage while taking a stroll from Yoro Station on the Yoro Railway to the popular tourist spot situated further inside the park, Yoro Falls.It’s a 40-minute course, but time will fly by as you take in autumn’s colors.The Yoro Park Momiji Festival is held every weekend during October and November.How about making a visit to Gifu on one of these days?

We’ve talked about Gifu’s attractions and the best places for cherry blossoms or autumn colors, but we can’t forget to mention the area’s hot springs!There are many hot springs where you can take some time to relax and unwind.Make the most of your trip by including a stay at a hot spring resort!Here are some popular hot springs in Gifu:
1/ Gero Onsen
2/ Hida Takayama Onsen
3/ Shinhotaka Onsen
4/ Nakatsugawa Onsen
5/ Nagaragawa Onsen

Gifu is home to the famous Gero Onsen.This hot spring has a history of over 1,000 years and it is one of the Japan's Three Famous Springs.Come and enjoy the historic Gero Onsen on your visit to Gifu.Shinhotaka Onsen is known as an open-air bath (rotenburo) paradise.Many of the accommodation facilities in the Shinhotaka Onsen area come with their own rotenburo.Treat yourself to an even more luxurious hot spring experience by soaking in an open-air bath, enjoying the beautiful natural scenery around you.

Let’s now take a look at Gifu’s local cuisine.Tomato and spinach are Gifu’s most well-known agricultural products and using these, they have come up with some unusual dishes, unique to Gifu.Try some of these dishes while you’re out sightseeing.
1/ Akakabu zuke (Red turnip pickles)
2/ Pickles Steak
3/ Gohei Mochi (Grilled pounded rice cakes with miso sauce)
4/ Nishin Zushi (A kind of fermented food with Herring, radish, rice etc.)
5/ Nakatsugawa Tori Toma Don (Chicken and tomato over rice)

As the name Pickles Steak probably suggests, it is made from grilled pickles.This may be an unfamiliar way of eating pickles for most of us, but in the Hida region of Gifu there has been a custom of grilling pickles since long ago.Pickles were a precious form of preserved food in winter, but they would freeze in the cold.So, this dish originated when the pickles were grilled as a way to melt them.You’ll be happy to know this is a regular item found on the menu at Japanese-style pubs in the Hida region.Enjoy it with an alcoholic beverage of your choice!"Nakatsugawa Tori Toma Don" is rapidly gaining popularity as a local delicacy of Nakatsugawa city.Each shop has their own version so visit a few of them and do a taste comparison!

Let’s now check out the souvenirs you will want to bring back with you.You might want to buy some for yourself, but family or friends would be sure to love them, too.
1/ Gohei Mochi
2/ Kurikinton (Candied chestnuts)
3/ Mizu Manju (Translucent jelly cake with red bean paste)
4/ Kaki Yokan (Sweet jellied persimmon)
5/ Hidagyuman (Steamed Hida beef bun)

Nakatsugawa city in Gifu is said to be the birthplace of Kurikinton.As it is a well-known confectionery using a local specialty of Gifu, your friends will be sure to love it.On a side note, this is a seasonal product available during the autumn to winter period, which is the chestnut harvest season.A limited-edition souvenir feels even more special! Speaking of limited-edition products, Mizu Manju is another.Mizu Manju, a famous product from Ogaki city, is sold for a limited time from April to early October.You will enjoy its silky-smooth texture.

Did you enjoy our overview of Gifu’s tourist attractions, seasonal scenic beauty, relaxing hot springs, local cuisine and popular souvenirs?Gifu is also full of historic sites.Not only will this will be of great interest for those who already like history, but it will also be enjoyable for those just starting to take an interest or who may usually feel intimidated.And then, there are the enchanting hot springs.Come and stay longer than one night so you can experience all the sights, springs and delicious food of Gifu prefecture.

It is my opinion and summary. Please acknowledge that there are various opinions.