Introduction         Japan Information         Japan Travel Tips         Eating Out         Regional Information

Japan Regional Information

Chubu    Chugoku     Hokkaido     Kanto     Kansai     Kyushu     Okinawa     Shikoku    Tohoku

Aichi     Fukui     Gifu     Ishikawa     Nagano     Nigata     Shizuoka     Toyama     Yamanashi

 

Gifu

Antique houses registered as a cultural heritage
Time-honored cormorant fishing and the gorgeous Takayama festival
Located in the center of Honshu, with more than four fifths of its total area occupied by woods and forests, Gifu spreads out from the high mountain district of Hida down to the flat Nobi Plains downstream of the Kiso-sansen (three rivers) with a distinct gradient. Hida mountains with their peaks rising as high as 3,000 meters above the sea belong to Chubu-Sangaku National Park. The Ryohaku mountainous district with a vast forest of Japanese beech and alpine plants is part of Hakusan National Park. Shirakawa-go at the foot of Mt. Hakusan is a must to take in, where antique steep rafter-roofed houses registered as a cultural heritage of the world stand side by side. Gifu abounds with places of natural beauty, like Ena-kyo valley dotted with rocks and stones of fantastic shapes and the Gero hot springs dating back to about the 10th century as a popular watering place.

Another thing you cannot miss in Gifu is the traditional Ukai, or fishing with cormorants, dating from about 1,300 years ago. The event takes place on Nagara-gawa River at various times between spring and fall. Sekigahara is renowned as the theater of the showdown in 1600 that led Tokugawa Ieyasu, a famous warlord, to bring the whole country under his rule. Hida Takayama, where you can see alleys lined with old stores and houses, is known for the gorgeous Takayama-matsuri Festival. Every summer, Gujyohachiman becomes the stage of Guyjo dance that continues for 30 consecutive nights. Gifu softens the visitors to Gifu with its tranquil scenery and fascinates them with its traditional splendid festivals.

Getting there
About 1 hour 40 minutes from Nagoya Station to Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line; about 20 minutes from Nagoya Station to Gifu Station by JR Tokaido Line. About 37 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Maibara Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line; about 40 minutes from Maibara Station to Gifu Station by JR Tokaido Line.
 

  • Ena-kyo Valley
    Popular for its scenery with cherry, azalea and autumn leaves
    A valley with many unusual shaped stones and rocks
    Ena-kyo Valley is located in the eastern part of Gifu, stretching from the artificial lake where Kiso-gawa River is dammed by Oi dam to the upper stream of Nakatsu-gawa River. It has precipitous cliffs with many unusually shaped stones and rocks that were created by erosion. Kasa-iwa rock is known as the rare shaped rock, along with Beni-iwa rock that is covered entirely by a reddish brown moss, because it is shaped as if piercing the land and it is designated as a natural monument. Ena-kyo Valley is also popular for its scenery with cherry, azalea and autumn leaves looking even more attractive with the huge rock.

    Ena-kyo Valley can also been seen and enjoyed from on board one of the sightseeing boats on the river and also from Ena-kyo ropeway. On the north bank of Ena-kyo, there is an amusement park called Ena-kyo Land where you can enjoy 25 different attractions including a big Ferris wheel from which you can have a 360-degree view of Ena-kyo and the southern Japan Alps.

    To the south of Ena-kyo, runs Nakasen-do highway connecting Edo (today's Tokyo) and Kyoto. The area from Magome-juku to Ochiai-juku is called Jikkyoku-toge Pass. This stone-paved, dark, quiet old highway running through a dense hinoki (Japanese cypress) wood remains just as it used to be in 17th to19th century.

    Getting there
    By JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station, for 1 hour from Shin-Osaka Station to Nagoya Station. By JR Chuo Main Line for 1 hour from Nagoya Station to Ena Station. By bus for 15 minutes from Ena Station to Ena-kyo Valley.

     

  • Gero-onsen Hot Spring
    One of the three best hot springs in Japan
    Amateur Kabuki performances are held in the spring and autumn
    Gero-onsen Hot Spring, located in the middle eastern part of Gifu on the border with Nagano has been known as a spa since the 10th century. It is considered one of the three best hot springs in Japan and is renown to be very good for rheumatic ailments. The "Yu-meijin Yu-meguri Tegata" pass, that allows you to visit three other hot springs other than the one you are staying at, is available.

    Amateur Kabuki performances are held in spring by the Ho-o-za troupe and in autumn by the Haku-un-za troupe. This is a hundred year-old performing art peculiar to the local farming villages, and is a simple play performed by local people not only as stage carpenters and stage lighting engineers but also as actors. At the Ryujin (Dragon) Fire Festival held in midsummer, men controlling five dragons are sprayed with sparks of fire from handheld fireworks and torches, whilst performing valiant dances. For the following two days Gero-onsen-matsuri Festival is held. A portable shrine carried by women on the second day and approximately 2,000 fireworks on the third day are also very impressive.

    In the winter Ta-no-kami-matsuri Festival, designated as an important cultural asset is held. The Festival reaches its climax when men clad in hats adorned with flowers made with red, yellow and white rice paper dance in the shrine compound.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 55 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Nagoya Station. About 1 hour 37 minutes from Nagoya Station to Gero Station by JR Takayama Honsen Limited Express.


     

  • Gifu City
    A castle town which prospered at the foot of Mt. Kinka-zan
    Watch cormorant fishing on the clear water of Nagara-gawa River
    Gifu is situated in the northern part of Nobi Plains in the southern part of Gifu Prefecture. At the time of the Kamakura era in the 13th century, it prospered as a castle town of Gifu Castle built on the peak of Mt. Kinka-zan. The current donjon of the Gifu Castle was rebuilt in the mid-20th century.

    Gifu Park situated in the center of the city has a three-storied pagoda, the Nawa Insect Museum, and a landing stop for the Mt. Kinka-zan Ropeway on its approximately 200,000 square-meter compound. A spring Shinto ritual held at the Tejikarao-jinja Shrine, the Tejikarao Fire Festival, is a grand fire festival as the name suggests, and portable shrines dance boisterously in the air amidst a rain of falling sparks.

    From spring to autumn, at the side of Nagara-gawa River at the foot of Mt. Kinka-zan, cormorant fishing, a way of catching Japanese river trout with tamed cormorants that has been carried out since the 9th century, takes place. At night the cormorant fishermen with Kazaori Eboshi (a unique hat) and grass skirts, line their boats side by side, and under the light of torches catch river trout simultaneously. You can watch the whole process closely aboard a tour boat. In summer, Nagara-gawa River Fire Works, which boasts the largest number of fireworks in the country, is held.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 20 minutes from Nagoya Station to Gifu Station by JR Tokaido Line. About 37 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Maibara Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen, and about 40 minutes from Maibara Station to Gifu Station by JR Tokaido Line.

     

  • Nihon Rhine
    One of the three largest rapid streams in Japan
    Watch fantastically shaped rocks while boating down the Rhine
    It takes about an hour to boat down the Nihon Rhine, the rapid stream of Kiso-gawa River, one of the three largest and fastest streams in Japan. It is very thrilling to go down the valley by small boat. The Nihon Rhine is located in the southern part of Gifu in a 13 km valley that runs from the meeting point of Kiso-gawa River mid stream and Hida-gawa River, to Inuyama of Aichi. It was named the Nihon Rhine for its scenic resemblance to the Rhine in Germany.

    Places to see around the Nihon Rhine are the residence of former Ota-waki Honjin Hayashi-ke that was built in 1769, and Matsui-ya Shuzo Shiryo-kan. The latter has a main building built in a style typical of a tradesman's house and a sake brewery from 1795. Zuirin-ji Temple has in its possession a wooden statue of Maitreya with a face that is almost a meter long. In Inuyama, Aichi Prefecture, the final stop of the Rhine rafting is Inuyama Castle towering on the cliff on the north side of Kiso-gawa River.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 45 minutes from Nagoya Station to Mino Ota Station by JR Takayama Honsen Line, and about 25 minutes from Gifu Station. About 37 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Maibara Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 40 minutes from Maibara Station to Gifu Station by JR Tokaido Line. About 5 minutes from Mino Ota Station to Nihon Rhine Josen Center by bus.

     

  • Oku-Hida
    Oku-Hida has 5 hot springs
    Mountain climbing base of the Northern Japan Alps
    Oku-Hida is located in the northern part of Gifu and is a general term for the area along Takahara-gawa River which is an upper stream of Zintsu-gawa River. Hot springs such as Hirayu, Fukuchi, Shin-Hirayu, Tochio, and Shinhodaka are scattered around the west foot of the Japan Alps, a 3,000 meter-range of mountains. Hirayu-onsen Hot Spring is surrounded by a white birch wood at the west foot of Mt. Norikura, and they say that it was originally discovered in 16th century when someone saw a monkey washing its wound with water from the hot springs. Since then it has developed and has been known as the healing springs.

    The town of Hirayu has the Hirayu Folklore Museum, which consists of an old straw house from 250 years ago that has been reconstructed. This museum is unique since it has an open-air bath attached to it. You can see Hirayu-otaki Waterfall not far from the town. This waterfall is 6 meters wide and 64 m high. During winter the temperature drops down to -15 degrees Celsius and the frozen waterfall is illuminated by light. The Hirayu Waterfall Ice Festival is held here every winter.

    The Shin-Hodaka-onsen Hot Spring is located alongside a Kamata-gawa River. The open air-bath within this spring is also known as the healing spring by many alpinists. This Shin-Hodaka-onsen Hot Spring is a mountain climbing base of the Northern Japan Alps. You can enjoy 11 minutes of breathtaking aerial views by taking 2 ropeways from Shin-Hodaka station (1117 m above sea level) to Nishi-Hodaka station. (2156 m above sea level).

    Getting there
    By JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station, for 1 hour from Osaka Station to Nagoya Station. By JR Takayama Line for 2 hour and 10 minutes from Nagoya Station to Takayama Station. By bus for 1 hour from Takayama Bus Terminal to Hirayu-onsen.

     

  • Oku-Mino and Gujo Hachiman
    Stalactites that turn red and pink
    Gujo Odori, a dance that continues for 30 nights
    Located almost right in the central part of Gifu, Oku-Mino's center is Gujyo Hachiman, where the upper stream of Nagara-gawa River and its branch Yoshida-gawa River meet. It prospered as a castle town in the 16th century and even today preserves old streets defined by Bengara-goshi lattice. The current castle was rebuilt in the early 20th century and in the donjon are many weapons and armor that were used in the old days.

    Soso-sui Spring, or precious water that springs out at the foot of Shimizu Bridge over Odara-gawa River, that runs through the near-center of town, is known as one of the best waters in Japan. On the southern side of the central district is Otaki-shonyu-do Stalactite Cavern, about 700 meters long and 100 meters high. Inside the cavern is a big 30-meter waterfall that is said to be the largest underground waterfall in Japan. A must-see attraction here are the rare stalactites that turn red and pink, which you cannot see elsewhere. In the summer is Gujo Odori, a dance that continues for 30 nights. The four days of the climax is called All-Night Dance and tourists join in to dance from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. the next morning.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 45 minutes from Nagoya Station to Mino Ota Station by JR Takayama Honsen Line. About 37 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Maibara Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 40 minutes from Maibara Station to Gifu Station by JR Tokaido Line. About 25 minutes from Gifu Station to Mino Ota Station by JR Takayama Honsen Line. About 1 hour 25 minutes from Mino Ota Station to Gujo Hachiman Station by Nagaragawa Tetsudo Line.

     

  • Shirakawa-go
    A chain of houses built in the gassho-zukuri style
    A village that preserves Japan's rural scenerya
    Shirakawa-go is situated at the foot of Mt. Hakusan, a mountain in the northwestern part of Gifu. It is a quiet village among the hills surrounded by mountains, with rice fields and a river running through it. About 110 houses with steep rafter roof stand next to each other and UNESCO registered the whole of Shirakawa-go as a World Heritage Site in 1995.

    The outdoor museum, Gassho-zukuri Minka-en, has moved and preserved 25 houses built in the gassho-zukuri style from various parts of Shirakawa-go. A temple, a coalhouse and a horse paddock have been built, preserving the old scenery as it were. They have live performances of traditional industrial arts like dying and weaving and you can experience them yourself. At a soba hall you can try making Japanese soba noodles. In the autumn, Doburoku-matsuri Festival is hosted. Doburoku is white, cloudy sake that is served to visitors. In the compound of Shirakawa Hachiman-jinja Shrine, one of the venues of this festival is Doburoku-matsuri Hall, which introduces a traditional dance with a lion's mask. Other events held at the Festival use dolls and miniatures. Ogimachi Jyoseki Lookout is the best spot to obtain a panoramic view of the village.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 45 minutes from Nagoya Station to Mino Ota Station by JR Takayama Honsen Line. About 37 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Maibara Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 40 minutes from Maibara Station to Gifu Station by JR Tokaido Line. About 25 minutes from Gifu Station to Mino Ota Station by JR Takayama Honsen Line. About 2 hours from Mino Ota Station to Mino Shiratori Station by Nagara-gawa Tetsudo Line. About 1 hour 50 minutes to Hagi Machi-ai Shuraku by JR bus to Hatogaya.

     

  • Takayama
    One of the three largest and most beautiful festivals in Japan
    A town of lineal beauty - projecting lattice and eaves of uniform height
    Takayama in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture is a castle town at the foot of Takayama Castle built in the 16th century. It is a town of old wooden houses standing side by side, and its lineal beauty, highlighted by projecting lattice and eaves of uniform height, draws visitors' attention. Takayama-matsuri Festival, believed to have begun in the 16th to 17th century, is one of the three largest and most beautiful festivals in Japan. At the Festival, intricate floats roam around the city. The floats, utilizing the essence of Hida's traditional techniques, are dazzling and magnificent. Takayama-matsuri Festival is held in spring and autumn every year. In the spring the central shrine is Hie-jinja Shrine, and in autumn, the central shrine is Sakura-yama Hachiman-gu Shrine.

    At the Shishi Kaikan, there is a live performance of the marionettes used in the festival. In both spring and autumn there are events held at the Takayama Shisei Kinenkan that allow women to wear kimono and men to wear hakama, and then tour the city.

    Other tourist spots include Kyodo Gangu-kan that exhibits folk-art toys from all over Japan, Hida Minzoku-kan that passes down facts and images of life at farming villages in Hida, and Takayama Shrine, which administered politics in the 17th century during the Edo period. Takayama Shrine's Gate and Examination House remain the way they were in the 19th century, the time of their renovation. In front of the shrine is a morning market and wives of local farmers sell fresh vegetables and mountain vegetables that were harvested that day, as well as homemade miso (Japanese bean paste) and folk-art goods.

    There are many skiing resorts nearby. Takayama is also popular as a base for sightseeing trips to Mt. Norikura-dake, Shirakawa-go and Chubu Mountains National Park.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 55 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Nagoya Station. About 2 hour 10 minutes from Nagoya Station to Takayama Station by JR Takayama Honsen Limited Express.A

     

  • The base of Mt. Haku-san
    The main peak of Mt. Haku-san commands stunning views of the volcanic landscape
    A sea of virgin beech forest with attractive woodland paths
    Mt. Haku-san stands on the boundary between Ishikawa and Gifu, in Haku-san National Park. The main peak of Mt. Haku-san was formed by volcanic activity and has seven alpine lakes and numerous snowy valleys along with famous waterfalls such as the Uba-ga-taki Falls, alpine plants, and beech forests. The mountain commands stunning views of the extensive volcanic landscape.

    Mt. Haku-san, also renowned as a mountain climbed in a form of Shinto worship, is one of the three most famous peaks in Japan, and a popular destination for trekking. At its base is a hot springs village, consisting of five hot springs including Nakamiya and Iwama, and other springs dotted around the area available for the climbers of Mt. Haku-san.

    An attractive woodland path on Mt. Haku-san connects Ishikawa to Gifu and has a total length of 33.3 kilometers. Along this path are the magnificent Fukube-no-otaki Falls or "Large Fukube Falls", estimated to be 86 meters in height, and the spray from the Falls often covers the path. The path also takes in a vast virgin beech forest and lookout platform 1,300 meters above sea level, commanding a wonderful view of the top of Mt. Haku-san in the distance. All of these features combine to draw visitors to the area.

    Getting there
    Approximately 2 Hours 20 Minutes to Maibara Station from Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line; 2 Hours to Nishi-Kanazawa Station from Maibara Station by JR Hokuriku-Honsen Line Limited Express, and 3 Hours to Nishi-Kanazawa Station from Osaka Station by JR Hokuriku-Honsen Line Limited Express. 25 Minutes to Tsurugi Station from Shin-Nishikanazawa Station by Hokuriku-tetsudo Line.

     

  • Tsukechi-kyo Valley
    A valley selected as one of the best 100 woods to bask in
    Many outdoor activities such as fishing and camping
    Tsukechi-kyo Valley, one of the best 100 basking woods in Japan at the upper stream of Tsukechi-gawa River is located in the southeastern part of Gifu. It is an area blessed with clean woods and clear water, and belongs to Ura-Kiso Prefectural Natural Park. A promenade is set up at the gorge where thaw water from Mt. Ontake flows, and in the vicinity is a camping site. The must-sees of this valley known for its clear water are Fudo-daki falls that is 7 meters high, and Takataru-no-taki waterfall. You can visit both via the promenade. Takataru-no-taki waterfall especially is known as a waterfall with an emerald basin, and popular for the budding greenery in spring, camping in summer and changing leaves that glow against the clear water in autumn. Tsukechi-cho is the gate to Tsukechi-kyo Valley, historically known as the home of Kiso cypress, and prospered in the Edo period 300 years ago as a cutover as well as a post town to Mt. Ontake pilgrimage. You can also fish Japanese river trout and camp at Kashimo-gawa River in the vicinity.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 55 minutes from Shin Osaka Station. About 1 hour and 10 minutes from Nagoya Station to Nakatsugawa Station by JR Chuo Honsen Line. About 1 hour from Nakatsugawa Station to Yakuba-mae by Kitaena Kotsu Bus.

Back to the Top 

 

  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

Home | Bhutan | Brunei | Cambodia | China-Yunnan | East Timor | Hong Kong | India | Indonesia | Japan | Kazakstan | Korea | Kyrgystan | Laos | Malaysia Maldives | Mongolia | Myanmar | Nepal | Pakistan | Philippines | Singapore | Sri Lanka | Tajikistan | Taiwan | Thailand | Tibet | Turkmenistan | Vietnam Uzbekistan

 

Website partner : Asia-planet.com...Tours and Hotels around Asia.
Version Francaise : Planete-asie.com

Copyright © 2002 Orasia co.,ltd. (Asia-planet.net) All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission prohibited.