Gifu is a mountainous prefecture located in the Chubu region of Japan. Gifu is known to be a more rural area and not as developed compared to other urban cities, though it boasts a number of attractive spots that are worth a visit. In addition, it is a perfect place for (foreign) tourists who are interested in Japanese culture and history. In this article, we will introduce the recommended tourist attractions in Gifu!
Shirakawago is a small, traditional village located in the north of Gifu, showcasing a building style known as gasshō-zukuri. The village is, together with Gokayama in Toyama, a designated UNESCO’s World Heritage Site. The entire village is dotted with traditional Japanese buildings with a unique architectural style called gassho-zukuri; thatched-roofs which look like two hands in prayer to prevent the roofs collapsing under the heavy snow in winter. The historical houses are said to be built centuries ago, and the oldest one is 400-year-old! The impressive scenery has been preserved with significant effort and support from local people. Some houses are currently used as a guest house that offer accommodation for tourists! This is exactly where you can immerse yourself into a true Japan experience.
2. Hida Takayama
Hida Takayama refers to another historical area in Gifu. Hida Takayama is located in the Takayama city situated in the northern part of the prefecture, and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Gifu. Many foreign tourists love the authentic atmosphere of the picturesque castle town. There are some old streets where well-preserved Japanese traditional sake breweries and houses, dating back from the Edo period through the Meiji period, can be visited. Most of the buildings are currently used as gift shops, restaurants, cafes, and other facilities offering several kinds of experiences for tourists. It is also a perfect place to enjoy local specialties such as Hida beef.
There is a walking trail of about 3km in length, called the Higashiyama Walking Course through Takayama’s fascinating townscape and along the former Takayama Castle. Hida Takayama developed as a lively town around the castle, though present day you can only see the remains of the castle in Shiroyama Park.
Magome is one of the traditional post towns on the Nakasendo Trail, which is the old mountain route connecting Tokyo and Kyoto. Small shops and eateries which are well-preserved from the Edo period line up on the hillside. You can enjoy a pleasant walk in this mountainous area throughout the year. A 1.5 – 3 hour hike toward Tsumago is also recommended, another famous post town where attractive wooden traditional houses and shops are nestled.
4. Gero Onsen
Gero Onsen is a famous hot spring resort located in a mountainous area in Gero city. It is
claimed as one of the three greatest hot springs in Japan along with Kusatsu Onsen in
Gunma and Arima Onsen in Hyogo prefecture. The hot spring resort dates back around 1,000 years ago and became a popular resort in the Edo era. There are several Japanese traditional ryokan that offer accommodation and local dishes for visitors.
The hot spring water of Gero Onsen is soft and mild, and it is recommended for people with sensitive skin. Public foot baths are also available for free around the city, which makes it easier for foreign tourists to try onsen for the first time. There are other attractive spots where visitors can have historical and cultural experiences as well. It is definitely a must visit once you go there!
5. Gifu Castle
Gifu Castle is an iconic landmark located on the Inabayama Mountain in Gifu city. It was
originally built in 1201 with a different name Inabayama Castle and played a significant
role as a political and economic center of the region. The name was changed to Gifu
castle by Oda Nobunaga, a famous samurai who invaded the region to expand
his territory in the Sengoku era. The current structure was reconstructed in 1956, and has been visited by a number of people as a historical symbol of the city. As it is located at the top of the mountain, it is not accessible by car. Visitors need to take a cable car from the Gifu park which is located at the base of the mountain.
9.30am – 5.30pm (Mar 16 – May 11)
8.30am – 5.30pm (May 12 – Oct 16)
9.30am – 4.30pm (Oct 17 – Mar 15)
Admission fee ¥200 (Adults), ¥100 (children)
6. Toki Outlet Mall
Toki Outlet Mall is a giant shopping mall containing domestic and world-famous brands
selling a large selection of products. Located in a mountainous area surrounded by
abundant nature, it offers a good shopping opportunity in a relaxing atmosphere. There are around 200 shops, and visitors can get high-end clothes and products for an affordable price. Restaurants and food shops are also available which offers a place to rest and satisfy your appetite. It is an enjoyable place for the entire family all day!
10am – 8pm
Toki Outlet Mall Official Website
Enakyo is a river valley located in Ena city which is recognized as one of the most scenic
spots in Gifu. The valley is located in the middle course of the Kiso river. It was formed by an artificial dam construction, and has been a popular spot where visitors can immerse themselves into a plenty of nature. It boasts a number of unique rock formations which create a stunning view with a peaceful river running alongside. The sightseeing high-speed boat is a fun way to enjoy the scenery from the river. There are other tourist spots around such as Ena Wonderland, a theme park perfect for tourists with kids!
8. Yoro Park
Yoro Park in south-west Gifu, is a huge park located at the foot of the Yoro Mountains. It offers artistic and sports facilities surrounding Yoro Falls. The park is especially beautiful in autumn, with the autumn colours shining bright.
Yoro no Taki
Yoro no Taki is a beautiful waterfall situated in the Yoro Park. It is 32m tall and 4m wide and the clear water falling from the naturally curved rocks creates a scenic view. The peaceful atmosphere offers a refreshing time for visitors. Each season, the appearance of the waterfall changes with different kinds of plants peacefully living by the waterfall, which makes it enjoyable all year round!
Yoro Tenmei Hantenchi
Yoro Tenmei Hantenchi offers an incomparable experience for those who look for an artistic spot in Gifu. The conceptual art garden of the park features artistic structures that visitors can directly play with. Huge exhibits are placed in an open-air ground, and each of them is specialised with unique features which enables players to discover the meanings hidden in the design. The park was designed by a famous artist Arakawa Shusaku with the goal to deliver several messages through a direct interaction with art works.
9am – 5pm
Admission fee ¥770 (adults)
9. Chiyoho Inari Shrine
When you visit Yoro Park, make your way down to Chiyoho Inari Shrine, a sacred Shinto shrine located in Kaizu city, about 30 min. drive from Yoro Park. It was originally established in the Heian era roughly about 1,000 years ago. Although it is a relatively small shrine, more than 2.5 million people visit there annually to pray for a good business, relationships, and examination results. There is a number of street vendors selling various kinds of products, and it is the perfect spot to enjoy local specialties.
10. Shinhotaka Ropeway
The ropeway takes you to the Nishi-hodakaguchi Station located at an elevation of 2,156 meters. There is an observation deck to look over the panoramic view of Japanese Alps which got two stars on the Michelin Green Guide Japan. On the way to the top, you will have to change the ropeway at the station at an elevation of 1,308 meters. There you can enjoy souvenir shopping, having some meals at restaurants, and even taking a relaxing bath in onsen hot springs. Especially the open-air onsen with breathtaking views of the mountains is something you shouldn’t miss!
Japan Wonder Travel Tours
If you need some help to organize your trip to Gifu, you should definitely check out our
private tour including English guide. We’re happy to help you make your trip to Gifu a fun, comfortable, and unforgettable memory!
Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour
Gifu is easily accessible from Tokyo by Shinkansen. How about taking part in our popular private tour in Tokyo before heading to Gifu!
Kyoto Private Full Day Walking Tour
Less than an hour ride of Shinkansen from Gifu takes you to Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations where offers historical and cultural experiences for visitors!
Where to stay in Gifu
- Shiroyamakan – A traditional Japanese ryokan located in the peaceful surroundings of Shirakawago
- Honjin Hiranoya Annex – Conveniently located in Takayama, this ryokan is praised for its delicious food
Each of the places introduced above are worth a visit. Gifu offers various kinds of
experiences that you can’t have in urban areas!
More trip destinations near Gifu
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