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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
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 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
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare 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
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving 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
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
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 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

GIFU Gifu City A compact, modern city, famed for refined crafts and vibrant, violent history

A compact, modern city, famed for refined crafts and vibrant, violent history

Gifu and its capital city are at the center of Japan, both geographically and historically. The city played a key role in Japan's unification, making the area rich in history.

Don't Miss

  • Climb, or ride the cable car up Mount Kinka to Gifu Castle
  • Buy celebrated local pottery or make your own in Tajimi
  • Ride the rapids down the Nihon Rhine
  • Relive the battle that led to the unification of Japan at Sekigahara

How to Get There

JR Gifu Station is about 30 minutes from JR Nagoya. From there you can catch trains and buses to all parts of the prefecture.

JR Gifu-Hashima is a stop on the Tokaido Shinkansen line (not all trains stop there) between Nagoya and Maibara. The adjacent Gifu-Hashima Meitetsu station connects with Gifu Meitetsu Station, a five minute walk from JR Gifu Station.

A commanding castle

High on Mount Kinka on the banks of the Nagaragawa River, Gifu Castle has one of the most impressive views of any castle in Japan. Rebuilt to the specs of the 16th century original, it takes around an hour to reach it on foot or a few minutes by the ropeway. The area around the base of the mountain is packed with shrines, temples and museums.

The great Buddha of Shoho-ji Temple

In the 19th century, a 14 meter statue of the Buddha was built to honor the victims of earthquakes and the diseases that inevitably followed them. A short walk from the base of Mount Kinka and Gifu Castle, the Buddha and the temple that houses it are comparable with the great Buddhas of Nara and Kamakura.

Dive for your dinner

In Ukai fishing, a centuries old tradition, local master fishermen use cormorants to catch fish and drop them back in the boat. The birds are rewarded with every eighth fish.

Ukai fishing takes place at night by firelight. You can watch from boats that drift alongside the fishermen. Some boats also serve dinner while you watch the fishing.

Ride the rapids of Nihon Rhine

Another river-borne thrill is riding the rapids of the Kiso River. The river is also called the Nihon Rhine for its likeness to its German counterpart.

Buses from Inuyama or Nihon Rhine Imawatari Station drop passengers off at the start, and wooden boats take you down a 13 kilometer valley that begins at the convergence of the powerful Kiso and Hida rivers and runs to Inuyama, Aichi.

Far more sedate than white-water rafting but still exciting, the trip down the most beautiful section of the Nihon Rhine takes about an hour. The wide river unfurls through open country before twisting through some narrower passes where strange rock formations rise from the water like sculptures.

A small but elegant castle

Just 12 minutes by train west of Gifu City, Ogaki Castle is another concrete reconstruction of a 16th century castle. Ogaki was the closest castle to the battlefield of Sekigahara and was involved heavily in the wars of the 16th century. The museum inside the castle retells the story.

Japan's legendary battle

In 1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu faced Ishida Mitsunari in what would become the defining battle of Japanese history, the Battle of Sekigahara. The ensuing bloodshed brought to an end the Warring States Period (1467-1603) - roughly 150 years of continuous civil war.

Tokugawa won the day, united the country, and began his shogunate, a dynasty that ruled Japan in relative peace for 250 years. Today, the Battle of Sekigahara is commemorated with a fascinating museum in the town center and recreations of the various army camps in the narrow valley.

Tajimi and its pottery

The town of Tajimi is home to many varieties of world-renowned Mino-yaki (Mino ware), including Oribe and Shino. There are dozens of shops selling gorgeous dishes, vases and figures in the distinctive local style. You can even make your own bowls and cups in the Ceramic Park.

Tajimi is also home to Eiho-ji, a stunning temple complex with one of the most beautiful gardens in Japan. You can easily spend a few hours strolling the gardens and bridges across the pond.

The festival of exquisite paper

Every October the town of Mino opens its streets to artists from all over the world for the Mino Washi Akari Art Festival. They create beautiful lanterns and light sculptures with hand-made Mino paper.

The festival is held in the evenings and the streets of the historic town are awash in soft light.

Chasing the best blossoms

Like everywhere in Japan, the brief cherry blossom season draws throngs of people to picnic, drink and relax under the pink petals. In Gifu, Kamigatani, Shinsakai Riverside, and Usuzumi Park are acknowledged as the best viewing spots.

You can stroll alongside the trees, taking in the falling petals and the changing perspective, or settle below the branches and partake of hanami - blossom viewing - which is accompanied with copious food and drink, the highlight of spring in Japan.

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