Located in central Japan, and with easy access via Shinkansen from Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto, Gifu is home to the great outdoors, timeless tradition, local culture, and exquisite foods that have been preserved and passed down through families for centuries.
These treasures remain alive in the everyday life of its citizens, and Japanese locals have flocked to many of the destination’s popular regions for decades to get a glimpse of the stunning natural wonders and immerse themselves in longstanding traditions.
But, when borders reopen, it won’t just be local tourists who will have the chance to explore the prefecture’s hidden gems. Here are a few of the highlights that await international visitors as well…
Hidden in Gifu’s mountains is this quaint settlement in Shirakawa Village that is famous for its gassho-zukuri houses, designed with roofs shaped like hands in prayer.
This UNESCO Heritage Site, Shirakawago, is still inhabited today by local farmers who tend to the surrounding rice terraces.
Visitors should head to Shiroyama Viewpoint for panoramic views and take a tour of the oldest and largest remaining gassho-zukuri house in the village, the Wada Residence (Wada-ke).
Your clients can even stay in one of these unique homes, with a selection that have been transformed into inns (with booking in advance required).
Old Nakasendo Road
The south-east corner of Gifu is steeped in history and is home to a large portion of the road that connected Tokyo with Kyoto in the Edo Period.
Visitors can wander the old streets of towns lined with traditional Japanese houses, and take in the scenery as the road winds through forests and gorges.
Day tours and multi-day hiking and cycling tours are available to explore the road while learning about the area’s medieval history.
Gero Onsen is considered one of the three most famous hot springs in Japan, thanks to the quality of its water, which is well-known for making visitors’ skin silky smooth.
With spas scattered across the town, your clients can immerse themselves in the local charms, culture and views of the foothills in between enjoying the springs.
The nearby Gero Hot Springs Gassho Village recreates the traditional architecture of the region with gassho-zukuri houses, offering hands-on activities that visitors can get involved in, from painting ceramics to making Japanese handmade paper.
While visiting, your clients should also take some time to explore the nearby Hida Osaka Falls, a ‘Forest of Water’ that forms part of Gero City.
This oasis is known as the town with the most waterfalls in Japan. Home to 216 waterfalls stretching over five metres tall, as well as 14 hiking trails, visitors can book a selection of tours and guided walks available to experience it firsthand.
Japan’s Northern Alps
The Northern Japan Alps sit on the border of Gifu prefecture and offer mountain vistas, hot spring valleys and climbing routes.
A destination for the outdoor explorer, this region is home to 10 of Japan’s mountains that top 3,000 metres and spans an epic 150 kilometres north to south, with most of this area designated as the Chūbu-Sangaku National Park.
Here, your clients will also discover the imposing Mount Norikura. Reaching 3,026 metres above sea level, the mountain is home to the highest road in Japan, the Norikura Skyline.
Those not afraid of heights can reach the peak via a short hike from the highest accessible bus stop, or brave the entire climb, which is considered easy to moderate due to the gradual ascent.
All that adventuring is sure to make your clients hungry, so they may want to try some local delicacies after their busy days exploring.
One of the more famous delicacies is Hida beef. Part of the prestigious wagyu beef family, the characteristics of Hida beef are its rich marbling, pink colour, mellow fragrance, and dynamic flavour.
A key location for trying this premium meat is Takayama, also known as Hida Takayama, thanks to Hida beef as its most admired export.
Hida is one of only a few styles of wagyu in Japan, and is among the highest grade along with Kobe beef and Mie prefecture’s Matsusaka beef. It can come in many formats, such as on a stick at street stalls, sushi, beef buns, croquettes, steak, and shabu shabu.
When the time is right, your clients will be able to explore all the wonders of Japan’s heartland in person. But until then, you can help them dream and plan an unforgettable journey to and through Gifu with this incredible series of short videos:
If you and or your clients are looking to discover more about Gifu prefecture, go here.
For agents looking to explore Gifu even further, you can view a short webinar and download local maps and information on the Gifu Australia and New Zealand travel agent portal.
And, while you’re in the portal, you can sign up for Gifu’s bi-monthly EDM so you don’t miss out on all the updates on the destination, as well as your chance to join competitions and take advantage of incentives.