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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

TOKAI Gifu UNESCO World Heritage sites, traditional festivals and centuries-old artisanal crafts

Gifu is Japan's literal and figurative heart, rich in culture, crafts and natural beauty, with towns famed for making ceramics and swords and picturesque traditional villages nestled in its mountain ranges

Gifu has played a critical part in Japan's history. The pivotal battle that united the nation took place here at Sekigahara, and the area's fine crafts and swordmaking traditions reflect its importance to the nation's fortunes. The breathtaking towns of Takayama and Shirakawago take you back in time to simpler days, while the beauty of its mountains and pure rivers draw visitors back to Gifu time and again.

How to Get There

Gifu is accessible by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya as well as regular JR trains, highway bus and car. There are direct flights from Tokyo and Osaka to Nagoya Airport for easy access to southern Gifu, or Toyama Airport for the northeast.

Nagoya is the main access point for the region, with the JR Takayama Line providing service to Gifu City, Gero, Takayama and most of the key places in Gifu. Southern Gifu is centered around Gifu City, a 30-minute train ride from Nagoya. Trains and buses connect to Sekigahara in the east and Tajimi in the west. An excellent bus network loops to smaller sites outside the city as well as Gifu Castle and other regional attractions, all from JR Gifu Station. Hida in Northern Gifu is on the JR Takayama Line. The main hub is Takayama, and buses run from here to local towns and onsen resorts, as well as into the mountains. Highway buses run from Tokyo and Osaka to Takayama Bus Center. The Japan Rail Pass can be used on JR trains across the prefecture.

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Don't Miss

    The riot of color and music during Takayama's spring and autumn festivals
    Dramatic mountaintop castles, historic towns and the Sekigahara battlefield
    The soothing waters of Gero Onsen, considered one of Japan's best
    The world-renowned swordsmiths of Seki and the ancient tradition of cormorant fishing on the Nagara River

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Boasting one of the finest displays of cherry blossoms in the country, the Takayama Festival draws visitors from across Japan and around the world.

  • Summer

    Watch the ukai or cormorant fishing on the Nagara River, camp in Tsukechi-kyo Valley or hike through some of the most stunning mountains in Japan, including Haku-san and Mt. Norikura, where you can even ski in the summer.

  • Autumn

    Time to take in Takayama's autumn festival and the autumn leaves in the mountains, particularly around Gujo-Hachiman. October's Mino-Washi Art Expo draws artists from all over to create art using Mino’s famous handmade paper.

  • Winter

    Winter in Gifu is all about snow sports, with Gujo and Takayama the focus points. The town of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is especially gorgeous when the traditional thatched houses are blanketed in snow.