close

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

Festivals & Events

Gujo Odori 郡上おどり

Gujo Bon Odori Dance Festival

A 400 year old community festival that draws thousands every summer.

How to Get There

Train: From JR Gifu station take the JR Takayama Line to Mino-Ota Station (about 35 minutes) and change to the local Nagaragawa Railway for Gujo-Hachiman. The station is a decent but pleasant walk from the town centre. Buses run hourly.

Bus: Most highway buses from Nagoya and Gifu stop at “Gujo-Hachiman Inter” and a smaller number stop at the more convenient “Gujo-Hachiman Jokamachi Plaza”.

Quick Facts

Dances take place from July to September

The peak is in August during Obon.

Dances last from sunset to sunrise.

The Days of the Dead

Obon (mid-August) is the period when traditionally people would return to their homes to reconnect with their families. The souls of ancestors were also thought to return at this time making it an important spiritual time. Dance parties and festivals would be held and many of them survive to this day, connecting an increasingly urban and disparate population with older communities.

A Significant Intangible Cultural Folk Asset

The Gujo-Hachiman Odori is officially recognised as one of the three most important bon dances in Japan. It began during the Edo Period (1603-1868) by Yoshitaka Endo as a means of binding the people of Gujo together irrespective of class or status. As a result the Gujo Odori is famous for being welcoming to visitors and tolerant of inexperienced and downright incompetent dancing – the goal is to make friends and connect with people; it is not a talent contest.

No Room at the Inns

There are 31 nights of dancing between July and September – and when they say nights they mean it: dancing from dusk to dawn – but the peak is a four night frenzy in mid-August. During this time tens of thousands of people gather in Gujo packing the streets and hotels.

In Gujo the Party Seeks You

There are ten recognised dances, each of which can be easily picked up by following your neighbour, though classes are offered for the keen. Locals and enthusiastic visitors wear yukata and wooden sandals (gaeta) but there is no dress code. There are a number of dance locations around the town in the vicinity of important shrines and temples, shifting according to a well-publicised schedule. Gujo’s compact centre means you’re never far from the party.