Exploring Gifu

Exploring Japan returns with a look at central Japan’s Gifu prefecture.

Gifu is in the central Japanese region of Chubu on the island of Honshu.  It’s the first landlocked prefecture I’m looking at.  It has a population of 2,074,158 and is one of the larger prefectures in the country.  The capital is Gifu.  The 5 largest cities are:

  1. Gifu (412,895)
  2. Ogaki (163,364)
  3. Kakamigahara (145,430)
  4. Tajimi (112,165)
  5. Kani (97,435)

Gifu is one of the prefectures that is shrinking in population as people move to the big cities.


Gifu Castle in Gifu city is a reconstruction of the original.  The castle contains a museum and the observation deck provides a 360 degree panoramic view of the city.  It’s located at the top of a mountain, so the view sounds amazing.

Gujo Hachiman Castle in Gujo is a wood reconstruction built in 1933.  It’s a pre-war reconstruction, which seems unusual.  It’s also a mountaintop castle.

Ogaki Castle in Ogaki is a reconstruction of a castle that was destroyed in World War II.  The interior is a museum with artifacts from the Battle of Sekigahara.

Sunomata Castle in Ogaki is a reconstruction.  It serves as a local history museum now.

Things to see and do

Gifu is famous for quite a few things, actually.  Some of the most famous things in Gifu include the historic village Shirakawa-go, cormorant fishing, and for people who love science, the Super-Kamiokande and KamLAND neutrino and antineutrino experimental facilities. It’s a popular place for skiing, hiking, and hot springs, as well.

In Gifu city, you can see Ukai, or cormorant fishing.  They use cormorants to catch fish.  In addition to Gifu Castle, Mt. Kinka is a good place to hike.  As for museums, I’d like to see the Gifu City Museum of History, Nawa Insect Museum, and Gifu City Science Museum.  Gifu has its own Daibutsu (Great Buddha), as well.  The Nagara River Fireworks Festival lasts 90 minutes at the end of July and beginning of August.

Hida city is a very historic city with a preserved historic city centre.

Mino is well-known for its Mino-washi Akari Art Exhibition, which is a paper lantern festival.

Tajimi is a great place to see ceramics.  Also, Eihoji temple is a beautiful Buddhist temple.

Takayama is a city that has some great historic sites. The Hida Folk Museum (Hida Minzokumura) is an open air museum that has Edo period buildings and people performing traditional jobs.  The Takayama Festivals are one of the largest Shinto festivals in Japan. Takayama Jinya is a beautiful old government building that is open to the public.

Yoro has a very unique attraction, The Site of Reversible Destiny in Yoro Park. It’s a theme park designed to disorient you.  Sounds very interesting.

Gero is famous for its hot springs. Gero Onsen is one of the most famous hot springs in Japan.

The Oku-Hida Onsen Villages are a great place for hot springs and hiking with beautiful mountain views.

Sekigahara is famous for its battle in 1600.  There are some museums dedicated to the battle.


Gifu is best known for hoba miso, a soybean paste that’s grilled on a hoba leaf.  Also, you can find Hida beef, which is a marbled beef that is very expensive.

Do you live in Gifu, or have you visited Gifu?  What else is great to see there?


Filed under Gifu, Japan

4 responses to “Exploring Gifu

  1. I finally got to replying here! That took awhile. My first reaction to your post was, “Gifu is so boring!” And indeed, Gifu City is. Then I remembered Gero and Takayama, which are both fun, so I guess it’s not a total loss. But yeah, Gifu City is drab, Ogaki is dire (and only useful as a slow-train layover between Nagoya and Kyoto), but the touristy places are entertaining. There’s a konyoku onsen right by a river and under a major bridge in Gero, just in case you need to see some naked old men.

    • Thanks for the comment. I was actually thinking Gifu must be boring, as I never really heard much about it. Then I read about it, and found that there are some pretty interesting places. I’d completely forgotten Shirakawa-go was in Gifu.

  2. Sorry, but have to disagree with Two Dudes in an Attic. Gifu City is an amazing place to live and is full of culture and history. I love living in this place and wouldn’t live anywhere else in Japan. There is so much happening around the Nagara area of the city and Gifu Koen is one of the best public city parks in all of Japan. I highly recommend both Sunomata Castle and the Shinsakai River in Kagamigahara for the cherry blossoms at this time of the year.

    • Glad you could finally comment. I’m also glad to hear Gifu City has plenty to see and do. But of course, living there, you’d know better than most.

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