Mesmerising Gifu 迷惑人心的岐阜
Be seduced by a world of art, history and natural beauty of Central Japan
When people think of Japan they think Tokyo, Hokkaido, Kyoto and sometimes, of less frequency, Osaka. A large region, right in the centre of Japan, has slipped past the thoughts of many travellers. What Gifu Prefecture offers is a palpable sense of tradition that colours every aspect of its cities, towns and people. Its formidable mountains, gorgeous wheat fields and countless rivers will find its place in a traveller’s heart, and perhaps stay there for the longest time.
Nakatsugawa City 中津川市
Ji-kabuki is a traditional Japanese dance-drama, which can be found in this city. An amateur version of kabuki, one can catch an intriguing performance of Ji-kabuki at Tokiwa-za theatre house. Amateur actors have performed in this theatre house since 1891, attracting villagers to come—bringing their own futons—during cold winters and warm summers. This performance is easily recognized by the heavily painted faces and exaggerated movements of the actors on stage.
A short distance away, a tall precipitous rock wall hangs near the Osaka Falls, Nakatsugawa City’s notable waterfalls. The rock wall was formed by the solidification of magma that was erupted from the Ontake Mountain thousands of years ago. Now it stands tall and formidable, like a guardian to the gentle waterfalls. Beneath the wall lies a trail that leads one to different routes, which eventually take visitors to a series of waterfalls such as the Mitsudaki, Akaganetoyo and Karatanidaki. The Gandate Park Hiking Trail covers several trails, and is categorized into beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. What visitors see at the end, is the rewarding sight of brilliant waterfalls surrounded by strong cliffs.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a breathtaking scene in Ono District. As if pulled out from a postcard, neat and delicate wooden houses stand alongside green pastures, seemingly undisturbed by the current world’s turmoil of political instability and natural disasters. These wooded houses are called the Gassho-style houses, with its characteristic large thatched gable roof, built with dense layering of straw to a thickness of a metre. The construction of the house, including the roof, does not involve a single nail. Bound by ropes and tree barks, it is built in a way that would sway along with the wind but never collapses. These traditional houses are spread across Shirakawa-go, and one is able to spend a quiet afternoon here to enjoy its serene surroundings and appreciate the architectures that are so cleverly constructed.
Hida City 飛騨市
The best way to enjoy Hida City is by cycling. Hida Satoyama Cycling Store is located in Hida Furukawa, and it offers good quality bicycles and experienced guides. Cycling through Hida City is a pleasant experience, regardless of seasons. Quaint shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, confectionary shops, rice stores stand along the street, all full of colours, contrasts and telling details. Ride pass wheat fields that stretch far beyond one’s sight, its wheat waiting to be harvested and made into delicious soba. Tomato farms and rice fields are common sights here. It is the perfect place for fans of rustic countryside and photography enthusiasts who appreciate nature as much as a simple bowl of soba.
Gifu City 岐阜市
Cormorant fishing is a traditional and important culture in Gifu City. A respectable occupation sees only a few eligible fishermen become a cormorant fisherman. Using a cormorant, fishermen hunt for fishes along Nagara River.
Excellent fishermen themselves, the cormorants bob up and down the water, each time swallowing a couple of fishes and store it in their throats. The cormorant fishermen then extract the fishes by squeezing it out of the cormorant’s elastic throat. Visitors can watch cormorant fishing in action at an event called Ukai, from mid-May until October on selected evenings.
Take a ride up Mount Kinka to the Gifu Castle, where one is able to view the landscape of the entire city. Gifu Castle, one of the main symbols of the city, was built in the 1200s by the Nikaido clan. Inside, a three-floor exhibition where the castle’s history, weapons and other artefacts are on display.
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Source > The Travel Times Newsletter 旅遊時光報
Translated by > BlogHost
Word Count > approx. 700 words in English