Gifu is a place where serene natural beauty meets a rich history of Japanese traditions. It is in the center of Japan, an area with stunning natural landscapes with best known as the place that has a thatched-roofed mountain village of Shirakawago, one of the top popular sightseeing destinations in Central Japan that is registered as UNESCO World Heritage Site.
This prefecture is mainly divided into two parts, the northern part being the Hida region and the southern part, Mino region. There is a distinctive climate change in these two regions although within the same prefecture. The Hida region in the north gets pretty cold during winter as it is surrounded by mountains. And the temperature can easily go below 0 and has a heavy snow. On the other, the southern region, Mino, has both wide plains and mountains, which makes the climate in the east and the west different, but usually hot summer and mild or a bit chilly winter.
The ultimate popular destinations for visitors, the historical villages of Shirakawago, nestling in the Japanese Alps is in the Hida region. Especially during winter when the houses are covered by a thick layer of snow and lit up after sunset, many tourists in and out of the country visit to see these remarkable picturesque settings. The farmhouse called “gassho-zukuri” built with triangular thatched roofs resembling hands clasped in prayer are still well preserved here and visitors can stay overnight in one of the houses to imagine what Edo mountain life might have been like. For nature lovers, or seeking extra more stunning photo spot, head east to hop on one of the longest ropeways in Asia at Shinhotaka ropeway. The double-decker gondolas will take you to the top of Mount Hotaka, a.k.a Hotakadake which has incredible panoramic views, especially popular during the autumn foliage season.
While Hida region is mostly mountainous, Mino region is flatter, and is abundant in water as there are three big rivers flowing through. One of them is the Nagara River, famous for its ukai or cormorant fishing from May 11 through Oct. 15 which takes place on lantern-lit boats along the river. It is in this Hida region that a historic castle town of Gujo-Hachiman sit at the confluence of three rivers with over 100 natural hot springs. Visitors can see unique traditional Japanese culture in this town.
The famous ukai (cormorant fishing) that has been passed down for over 1300years