GIFU: Timeless Japan, Naturally an Adventure

Gero Hot Springs
Gifu is a prefecture located in the central part of Japan. Known for its rich historical and cultural heritage, Gifu offers a perfect blend of traditional and modern attractions. The stunning natural beauty of the prefecture is highlighted by the magnificent Mount Ontake and the enchanting Nagara River. Visitors can explore the ancient castle town of Gifu and witness the breathtaking views from Gifu Castle. The prefecture is also famous for its traditional crafts, such as Mino washi paper and Seki cutlery. Gifu Prefecture, which has long been famous for its rich nature and world-class traditions and culture, was named one of the world’s top 100 green destinations for sustainable tourism. The selection included destinations like Shirakawa Village, Nagara River Basin, and Gero Onsen in the years 2020, 2021, and 2022 which highlights the world’s recognition that the essence of sustainability lies in this region.  In addition, Gifu is home to the famous Takayama Festival, which showcases elaborate floats and traditional performances. With its vibrant festivals, scenic landscapes, and captivating historical sites, Gifu is a must-visit destination for both nature lovers and cultural enthusiasts.

Must see in GIFU

located in one of Japan’s heaviest snowfall areas, is lined with gassho-zukuri houses, and the people make a living by growing mulberries and raising silkworms. These large houses with steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only gassho-zukuri examples in Japan.
This village is an excellent example of a traditional way of life. It is perfectly adapted to the environment and the social and economic situation of its people. Regardless of the season, Shirakawa-go is said to be like a fairytale world. People still live there today, and there are accommodation facilities.

called Sanmachi, retains the atmosphere and charm of a castle town from hundreds of years ago. The old town, located within a 10-minute walk from Takayama Station, is easily accessible and is one of Gifu Prefecture’s must-see spots. Old merchant houses and sake breweries line both sides of the street, creating a traditional Japanese atmosphere. It’s like stepping onto a movie set.

considered one of the three most famous hot springs in all of Japan, has been chosen as one of the “Top 100 Sustainable Tourism Destinations in the World” at Green Destinations in 2022. This “water of beauties” attracts people from all over the world, and once they experience the water of Gero, they find it difficult to settle for anything else.

The Nakasendo is an old highway between Tokyo and Kyoto along which there used to be many post towns, places where travelers could spend the night. The total distance is about 534 km/334miles (equivalent to the distance between Los Angeles and San Jose). It has existed for over 450 years and winds through Nagano and Gifu’s magnificent mountainous terrain. It is a natural road with lots of character, not a uniform road built with heavy machinery like today’s modern roads.


Nakasendo Trail, Onsen, and World Heritage in Gifu

Explore Gifu, Japan’s literal motto, “Timeless Japan, Naturally an Adventure” in untouched traditional villages nestled in picturesque mountain ranges. Hike the Nakasendo, an ancient road that has existed for about 450 years, and wander the trail with its old post towns to glimpse Japan as it was in the past. Treat yourself at Gero Onsen (Hot springs), considered to be one of Japan’s three most famous onsen towns, known for its soothing, mineral-rich water and pristine natural setting. Stay at a ryokan (Japanese inn) and enjoy a taste of traditional hospitality and charm. For dinner, enjoy kaiseki cuisine made with Gifu’s unique and seasonal ingredients, such as Hida beef, Ayu (sweetfish), and more. Visit Gujo Hachiman, which is a castle town rich in nature and has many sightseeing spots. Enjoy cycling through the countryside scenery and interacting with locals. You cannot miss a picturesque, preserved village, Shirakawago, recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

The Nakasendo is an ancient road that has existed for about 450 years. Stroll around the historically significant post town, Magome-juku. Enjoy hiking Magome Pass and savoring the experience of traveling the way countless other ancient travelers have made the same journey for hundreds of years. In the evening, spend a relaxing time at the historic and atmospheric onsen town, Gero Onsen.

Depart Gero Onsen and visit Gujo Hachiman, which is a castle town rich in nature and has many sightseeing spots. Then visit Takayama, a traditional and beautifully preserved old town, where you can explore various spots such as historical districts, arts, architecture, folklore culture, and local favorite cuisines.

Start the day by walking around the bustling Takayama Morning Market, where a wide array of local specialties and other products are available. Let’s get active and enjoy a fun activity in Gifu’s nature by cycling or biking on the rail of a former railway.

On the last day, you will transfer to the village of Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage site where you will see traditional “Gassho-zukuri” farmhouses, some of which have been standing for more than 250 years since they were built.

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