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 to Gifu
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.