Gifu Prefecture is a region in the central Chubu region of the main Japanese island Honshu.
Located in the center of Japan, it has long played an important part as the crossroads of Japan, connecting the East to the West. The prefecture is divided in two regions: Hida in the North and Mino in the South. While the Hida region is a mountainous area, with peaks rising more than 3,000 meters above sea level, Mino regions is characterized by its plain rivers.
- GIFU CITY
- Because of its location in the middle of the country, the prefectural city has played an important role in Japan’s history.
Gifu is blessed with an environment full of natural beauty such as Nagara River, running through the center of the city and Mount Kinka, home to a nationally designated protected forest. The city has taken advantage of these surroundings to create traditional industries and tourism opportunities such as cormorant fishing, a traditional fishing method in which fishermen use trained cormorants to fish in rivers.
The city is also home to Gifu Castle, a replica of Nobunaga's former castle.
Gifu hosts many festivals and events throughout the year.
- WHAT TO DO AND WHAT TO SEE
- Some of the prefecture’s main tourist attractions are:
Shirakawa-go, a historic village registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The village is famous for its farmhouses built in a unique architectural style known as gasshō. Gassho means "hands together" as in prayer, and it refers to the steep roofs that keep the snow off in the winter. Underneath the roofs, the large attic area was used to house silkworms.
Takayama, a beautiful mountain town in northern Hida with an excellent museum and famous for its well-preserved Edo-style streets and houses.
Heron Onsen, one of the most well known onsen (hot spring) towns in Japan.
Hakusan National Park, a mountainous park that still maintains unspoiled wilderness. The core of the park is Mt.Hakusan, one of japan’s Three Sacred Mountains along with Mt.Fuji.
For those who love winter sports, Gifu boasts a high amount of ski resorts.
- GETTING THERE
- By plane
The Meitetsu Line connects Gifu to Chubu Centrair International Airport up to 2 times per hour.
The JR Tokaido Main Line runs through Gifu on its way from Nagoya to Kyoto and Osaka. The Tokaido Shinkansen also makes a solitary stop at Hashima in the southern part of the prefecture.
From Tokyo Station, the best way to reach central Gifu is to take a Tokaido Shinkansen train (Nozomi or Hikari) to Nagoya, then change to a Tokaido Line local train for the run to Gifu. The trip is approximately 2.5 hours total.
The same connection can be made coming from Kyoto and Osaka in Kansai, and from other stations on the shinkansen network to the west.
- CLIMATE/ TEMPERATURE
- Gifu's climate varies from humid subtropical climate in the south, to humid continental climate in the north.
Because its surrounded by mountains, the Mino region temperatures fluctuate through the year, from hot summers to cold winters. The eastern city of Tajimi is considered to be the hottest city within Honshū boasting an average daytime high of 34.1°C during the peak of summer.
The Hida region, with its higher elevation and northerly latitude, is significantly cooler than the Mino region, although there are sometimes extremely hot days there too. The Hida region is more famous for its harsh winters, bringing extremely heavy snowfall, especially in the northwestern areas.
Shōkawa-chō, part of the city of Takayama, is up in the mountains, and its the coldest inhabited place on Honshū island.
- WHAT TO WEAR
- During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves. For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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