Gifu is a prefecture, north of Aichi, that is rich in culture and history as well as breathtaking nature.
If you’re moving to Gifu or considering living in Gifu, please check out our available apartments in Gifu prefecture.
If you’re wondering where to go in Gifu, please read on! With UNESCO world heritage sites like Shirakawago and Hida Takayama, Gifu is full of beautiful natural and historical attractions.
Not only do these sights attract tourists, but they are also a reason why many people consider moving to Gifu. There are so many other places those living in Gifu, or visiting, can enjoy like Gero Onsen and the Nagara River – to name a few.
Gifu Prefecture can be accessed easily by Shinkansen and highway buses from most big cities. It’s easy to get to Gifu from Nagoya; the journey takes only 20 minutes by train.
By far, the easiest way to travel around Gifu prefecture is by car. A lot of areas are far apart from each other since the prefecture is so big. In some areas, there are plenty of buses and even trains, but in other areas, there is limited public transport.
Shirakawago is one of the most popular places for anyone looking at where to go in Gifu. This area in Gifu prefecture is famous for its well-preserved thatched-roof houses surrounded by picturesque mountain scenery.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Shirakawago farmhouses are known as gassho-zukkuri. Some of these farmhouses are over 250 years old! The thatched and steep roofs were designed to help protect the houses from the heavy snow.
The most popular place to see gassho-zukkuri in Shirakawago amongst visitors is Ogimachi village, which has the most houses. A lot of people still live in these houses too!
An increasing number of visitors choose to visit Gokayama in Toyama prefecture as well, which is slightly less developed. The best way to experience life in Shirakawago is by doing a farmhouse stay and spending the night in a gassho-zukkuri.
Shirakawago holds winter illuminations in the snowy season when the houses are all lit up. Winter is a popular time for tourists to come since the houses look particularly cozy in the snow.
Hida Takayama Gifu
Takayama is a mountainous area known as Hida Takayama, Gifu’s northern region.
Takayama, Gifu prefecture’s best-preserved area, still retains a traditional feel in its rural areas. It is a popular place among visitors hoping to take in the slow and peaceful village life.
Old Town in Takayama has been preserved from the Edo Period. It’s a lovely place for visitors to enjoy strolling around and taking in the atmosphere. The streets are lined with little shops, cafes, sake breweries, and restaurants.
If you’re looking at where to go in Gifu to learn more about its history, crafts, and traditions, we recommend visiting the Hida Folk Village. It is an open-air museum exhibiting many traditional houses.
Anyone living in Gifu, or visiting at the right time of year should go to the festival in Takayama, Gifu prefecture’s most popular festival, known as the Takayama Matsuri. It is held on two days in spring (April 14th and 15th) and two days in autumn (October 9th and 10th).
Takayama Matsuri is known to be one of Japan’s best and most beautiful festivals. The spring festival, also known as Sanno Matsuri, is held at the Hie Shrine, and the autumn festival, known as the Hachiman Matsuri, is held at the Hachiman Shrine.
Takayama Matsuri is famous for yatai, beautiful traditional festival floats. The floats are displayed around the streets of Takayama, Gifu. They feature mechanical dolls, known as karakuri ningyo, and there are karakuri performances throughout the festival.
If you’re in the mood for relaxation and considering where to go in Gifu, please consider a trip to Gero Onsen. Gero is located between Nagoya and Takayama, making it a convenient place to stopover.
Ranked one of Japan’s top three onsen areas, Gero Onsen is a popular onsen town known for its hot springs that harness a magical ability to smooth skin. It has been nicknamed the ‘Spring of Beauty’.
Located along the Hida River, there are around thirty Ryokan in the Gero Onsen area. Visitors can purchase a ticket for just over ¥1000 which provides access to three of the hot springs in one day.
There is also a free open-air hot spring at Gero Onsen on the bank of the river. To go to this onsen you’ll need to bring a swimming costume with you.
When the summer heat gets too much and you are wondering where to go in Gifu to cool down, the Nagara River is the answer.
The Nagara River is a symbol of Gifu City since it runs through the city center. In summer the Nagara River and riverbanks come alive as people living in Gifu gather to swim and hold barbecues.
The Nagara River is said to be one of Japan’s cleanest rivers, so as well as being a popular spot among swimmers, it is also a popular spot for fishing since there are so many fish.
One of the unique things you can experience on the Nagara River is cormorant fishing. Pictured in the first photo above, this is a traditional summer activity where fishers use cormorant birds to catch fish along the river. Watching the fishing unfold is almost like watching a theater performance with bonfires to set the Atmosphere.
Popular Gifu Cuisine
One of the most famous food in Gifu Prefecture is Takayama Ramen. It is a soy sauce broth with noodles, and it’s deliciously warming in the winter season.
Hida Beef is rich wagyu steak rivaling Kobe beef. The delicacy is a popular treat among both visitors and residents.
For those with a sweet tooth, Gohei Mochi is a type of rice cake served on a skewer that is popular in Gifu as well as Nagano and Aichi. These rice cakes are covered in a variety of sauces ranging from soy sauce, sweet sauces, and walnut miso.
Gifu prefecture is a stunning place, combining both a rich history and culture with beautiful mountain scenery. Please check out some of these places if you are living in Gifu or if you are visiting! If you are interested in staying longer in Gifu, be sure to check out our Village House website for apartments for rent in Gifu!