I hope you enjoyed revisiting Mie prefecture virtually with me. And now, we are venturing into the deep mountains of Gifu prefecture.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are high that you’ve already heard of the hamlet known as Shirakawago located in Gifu prefecture. Outside of this now well known attraction of though, overseas visitors to Japan often don’t know much else about Gifu (or much else of Central Japan for that matter). Given that there’s a huge array of allures strewn about the prefecture, this is a real shame. From the ever-charming Hida Takayama area to the rustic hot spring town of Gero Onsen, you’re spoiled for choice in Gifu.
For those not already in the know, understand that Gifu is a prefecture that is sandwiched between the bookends of Tokyo and Kyoto. Located north of the city of Nagoya, Gifu has long been an important strategic holding for Japanese leaders. The famous Nakasendo trade route runs right through the south of the modern-day, landlocked prefecture. This highway was a vital artery that connected eastern Japan with the former capital of Kyoto. Because of this, many castle towns popped up over the centuries to watch over this crucial portion of the country.
Given its location, Gifu combines well with any trip to either Central Japan or to Kyoto. You can tack on a visit to any one of Gifu’s seven neighboring prefectures and famous attractions such as world heritage Gokayama (Toyama prefectue), Matsumoto Castle (Nagano prefecture) and more, or make a detour up from Nagoya when en route to Kyoto. Either as a day trip or as a multi-day excursion, Gifu is able to integrate itself into just about any itinerary. In the below paragraphs, I’ll introduce some of the spots that I personally enjoyed during my recent stint in Gifu.