Explore Shirakawa-go, a rustic traditional village deep in the mountainside of Gifu. Famous for its thatched “gassho-style” houses, the snow-capped roofs are a sight to behold in the winter. In 1995, the photogenic village was deemed a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discover what it’s like on the inside by visiting the Wada Residence, the oldest house in the village. Don’t forget to take a 15-minute hike up to the Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck to enjoy a panoramic view of the village from above.
Once a busy merchant town, the Takayama Historic District retains most of its original buildings and traditional architecture to this day. Now, the district is home to crafts and souvenir stores, as well as food stalls selling local specialties such as mitarashi dango and Hida beef skewers. Takayama Jinya is also known as the Takayama Historical Government House, the only one of its kind remaining in Japan — making it a building of immense historical significance.
Gifu is also home to “Little Kyoto”, otherwise known as Hida Furukawa town. This riverside town is home to over 1,000 colorful carp fishes that live within the winding canals that run throughout the area. For those who wish to fully enjoy a day of relaxation in the countryside, try a Satoyama Cycling Tour. If you’re lucky enough to visit Hida Furukawa in April, catch the famed Furukawa Festival in action. A vibrant and exciting festival with drum performances, parades and chock-full of the Japanese spirit, the Furukawa Festival is not to be missed. For those who will unfortunately miss the festival — you can also experience it vicariously through the comprehensive displays at the Hida Furukawa Festival Exhibition Hall.
Gero Hot Spring is one of the three top quality hot springs (onsen) in Japan. Nicknamed “The Water of Beauties”, it’s said that the water in Gero Hot Springs has beautifying qualities that help turn the bathers’ skin as smooth as the water itself. The highlight of Gero Onsen is “Fusenchi”, a huge open-air stone bath located right next to Hida River. Due to the location and it being a mixed bath, bathers must wear bathing suits to enter the hot spring.
Magome-juku is a post town located at the southern end of the mountain path called Kisoji Road. In the Magome area, people customarily have been eating Shinshu soba (buckwheat noodles made in Nagano) for a long time. Here, you can stop by various stores to obtain a snack, such as gohei-mochi (skewered rice cake grilled with sauce), okaki (rice crackers), oyaki (flat baked flour buns filled with chopped vegetables or other foods), roasted chestnuts, and more.