Gifu (prefecture)

Gifu prefecture (岐阜県 Gifu-ken; ) is a region in the central Chubu region of the main Japanese island Honshu.

Understand

The self-proclaimed "Heart of Japan", the prefecture was once two separate provinces; Hida Province in the north and Mino Province in the south. The defining feature of Hida Province is the northern stretch of the Japan Alps, making it a prime destination for three popular Japanese pastimes: hiking, skiing and hot springs. The elevation of the western mountains combined with its shared weather patterns with the coastal Hokuriku Region means the area gets a lot of snow in the wintertime. While snow can make things difficult for residents, it is quite appealing to those in Kansai and the Tokai region where snow is rare.

The former Mino Province in the southern part of the prefecture is home to many former castles and historic sites. The Nakasendo trail cuts through the entire region from on its way from Nagano to Shiga, leaving many preserved buildings and historic sites scattered around the former post towns.

Cities

Other attractions

Shin-Hodaka Onsen

Get in

By plane

The Meitetsu Line connects Gifu to Chubu Centrair International Airport up to 2 times per hour. The one-hour ride costs ¥1310.

By train

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. (2 1/4 hours total; ¥11190 via Nozomi, ¥10990 via Hikari).

The same connection can be made coming from Kyoto and Osaka in Kansai, and from other stations on the shinkansen network to the west.

Four shinkansen trains generally stop every hour, two in each direction, at the Gifu-Hashima station: the slow Kodama train which makes all stops on the shinkansen route between Osaka and Tokyo, and a Hikari which makes all stops between Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya, then runs directly to Tokyo.

There is no charge to use the Hikari or Kodama trains with the Japan Rail Pass.

By car

The central Chūō Expressway, which largely follows the alignment of the Tokaido Line, also passes through southern Gifu.

Get around

By train

The JR Takayama Main Line (高山本線 Takayama-honsen) runs from Gifu across the length of the province (from south to north), meandering through the scenic Hida Valley through Gero Onsen to Takayama, and beyond to Inotani in neighboring Toyama prefecture.

See

Magome-juku

Do

Eat

Gifu's best-known speciality is hōba miso (ほうば味噌), a version of the ubiquitous Japanese bean paste grilled on a hōba leaf and served as a dip or for eating with rice as is. Sounds pretty simple, but the taste is exquisite.

Gifu is located about as far from the sea as physically possible in Japan, so this is one place where seafood is not prized. Instead, Gifu is known for Hida beef, thickly marbled with fat and very expensive. Products grown in the surrounding mountains are also famous, particularly persimmons, chestnuts and mushrooms. A popular souvenir is kurikinton (栗きんとん), a candy made by steaming and mashing chestnuts with sugar and reconstituting the mass into a chestnut shape.

Drink

There are a number of excellent small sake breweries in Gifu. Look out for the tiny Niki Shuzō (二木酒造; ) brewery's brands, including Tamanoi (玉の井) and Himuro (氷室).

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Monday, December 21, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.