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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

Relaxation

Gero Onsen 下呂温泉

Escape to this atmospheric onsen town, well-loved since the 10th century

For centuries, Gero Onsen has been famous throughout Japan as one of the best places to take to the waters. Its fame even spread overseas, bringing illustrious visitors such as Charlie Chaplin, a trip commemorated with a statue in the town. Set aside a leisurely overnight trip—or longer—to Gero Onsen to soak in the hot springs and slip back in time.

Don't Miss

  • Bathing among the rocks beside Hida River
  • Climbing the stone steps to Onsenji to enjoy the view
  • Getting a taste of Shirakawago at Gassho Village

How to Get There

Gero Onsen is easily accessible from both Nagoya and Gifu.

From Nagoya or Gifu City take the JR Takayama Line. It's about 90 minutes from Nagoya, and a bit over 60 minutes from Gifu. Coming down the same line from Takayama takes about an hour.

Eat, drink, and be merry

Gero is all about the onsen. The majority of visitors stay overnight in one of the many hotels or ryokan. Each one has its own baths reserved only for guests and serves delicious meals of local produce, often directly to you in your room.

For busy Japanese families, Gero is the ultimate in relaxation: you check in, and from that moment on you don't have to do anything. It's the leading way for the Japanese to let the strain of work ease away.

If you can't spend the night

Day-trippers are also well-catered for. Gero Onsen offers three public baths and a free open-air bath beside Gero bridge—but be warned, people on the bridge can peer down on bathers.

Some hotels and ryokans open their baths to the public at certain times of the day. Purchasing a yumeguri tegata (bath pass) will give you access to three of these, which is usually plenty.

Sights to see, too

While most people come to Gero Onsen to bathe, eat, and sleep, the area isn't short of sightseeing options.

Onsenji Temple sits above Gero and offers excellent views along the Hida River. The temple's Buddha is devoted to healing—a fine devotion, since the mineral content of Gero spring water is said to have restorative powers. The hot spring waters are said to be particularly effective for sufferers of skin conditions and arthritis.

Another beautiful temple, Zenshoji, is one stop further north on the Takayama Line. While walking around and sightseeing, you can take a relaxing break at any of the free foot baths that dot the city.

Step back in time

The fact that Gassho Village Open Air Museum is reminiscent of Shirakawa-go is not coincidental. Many of the thatched houses were relocated from the northern town. As well as admiring the architecture, visitors can take part in demonstrations of traditional artisan techniques.

A morning market of local food and crafts will interest early risers. Of more relevance to Gero itself is the Gero Onsen Museum, which tells the story of the town's history.

Feeling festive

Each August 1 to 3, Gero plays host to the Ryujin Fire Festival. Incorporating geisha dances, music and fireworks, this is the highlight of the year in Gero, and consequently, accommodation is hard to come by.

A dance festival in February, kabuki performances in May and November and more fireworks at the end of the year are other festive options.

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