15 Things to Do in Gifu

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Gifu Shirakawa
Source: Bryan

Gifu city is situated Gifu Prefecture’s southern central region. The place serves as the capital of the prefecture, as it played a significant role in the history of the country. Gifu’s unique position is right at the center of Japan. The city is surrounded by many natural resources such as a river, mountains, and open fields.

1. Shirakawa go

“Shirakawa-go” is known to be a leading place of significant precipitation around world, and because of this climate, vernacular shelter homes were created. Farmer settlements area unit registered as cultural heritage sites in Japan. With the form of the Hakusan park mountain ranges as a background, these sites area popular major traveler attractions. If you like to go to “Shirakawa-go” in Gifu prefecture, it takes around 3 hours for you to get there by bike from Takayama.

2. Old Town of Takayama

Several homes within this old city open their doors to the general public and tourists. They like to give a glimpse behind the beautiful facade of the ancient quarters of native merchants. These merchants once exhibited their products and their native arts and crafts. This is quite nice and different from other explorations of Takayama’s ancient city. You should go on foot through the streets.

3. Ukai cormorant fishing

The Ukai cormorant fishing happens annually from May 11 to October 15 at the Nagara River. The city is currently the only location where the type of fishing tradition has been continued with no interruption for as far back as 1300 years. You can see the amazing event by riding a boat or just watch from the river banks.


  • Address: Nagara River banks
  • Date: May 11 to Oct 15
  • Time: 6pm to 9pm
  • Activity: Fishing show

4. Mt. Kinka

Mt. Kinka is situated in Gifu and stands at 330-meter peak, with an awesome view of the city and the Nagara River. When you reach the top of Mt. Kinka, there are different structures you can visit and activities you can do. You can enter the museum and the squirrel park.


  • Local name: 金華山
  • Address: 18, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture 500-0000, Japan.
  • Phone: +81 58-263-4853
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm
  • Fees: ¥1050 (Ropeway round trip), ¥200 (Squirrel park)

5. Gifu Castle

Gifu Castle is located at the top of Mt.Kinka and has been the main draw for tourists and neighboring locals because of its 360-degree panoramic scenic view at the very top. The castle is important as it is the headquarters of Commander Oda Nobunaga. The castle was built in 1201 and has undergone several renovations throughout the years.


  • Local name: 岐阜城
  • Address: 18, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture 500-0000, Japan
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm
  • Phone: +81 58-263-4853
  • Activity: Sightseeing, cultural, architecture, castle
  • Fee: ¥200

6. Gifu City Museum of History

The Gifu City Museum of History has exhibition centers for the public to experience the history of the region. You can see the “Rakuichi-ba” and the Castle Town of the Warring States Period in viewable scale. Oda Nobunaga ordered the establishment of the both to attract merchants. The “Rakuichi-ba” was an open market.


  • Address: 2-18-1 Omiyacho, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture 500-8003, Japan
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm
  • Phone: +81 58-265-0010
  • Access: Gifu Bus

7. Nawa Insect Museum

The Nawa Insect Museum was built in 1919 and Japan’s oldest insect museum. It has a great number of insects and rare species collected from around the world. There are also entomology tools in the museum. There are a regular lessons, talks and discussions by insect experts for guests. The building is registered as a Tangible Cultural Property.


  • Address: 2-18 Omiyacho, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture 500-8003, Japan.
  • Phone: +81 58-263-0038
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm
  • Access: Gifu Bus
  • Activity: Museum, cultural, history, science

8. Gifu Great Buddha

The Gifu Great Buddha or The Gifu Daibutsu is a Great Statue of Buddha is situated in Gifu Park at the southern west part in Colossal Hall at the “Kinpo-san Shobo-Ji Shrine Temple”. The basketwork design is paint colored with lacquer and then plated with gold. This is the largest Buddha statue known of existence in Japan, standing at 13.7 meters tall.


  • Address: 8 Daibutsucho, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture 500-8018, Japan
  • Phone:+81 58-264-2760
  • Hours: 8am to 5pm
  • Activity: Religious, Buddhist shrine, temple

9. The Museum of Fine Arts in Gifu

The Museum of Fine Arts in Gifu has more or less 3,000 art pieces and artworks. It also includes the world-renowned Odilon Redon anthology. Most of the works are made up of different fields, from local to modern up to contemporary artists. You can also visit the surround lines of trees and stream in the museum.


  • Address: 4-1-22 USA, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture 500-8368, Japan
  • Phone: +81 58-271-1313
  • Hours: 9am to 5pm
  • Activity: Museum, arts, history

10. The Gifu City Science Museum

The Gifu City Science Museum is supported by the city government and was built in 1955. Its other name was the Gifu City Children’s Science Center in 1980. A planetarium was built within the complex in 1988 and was again renamed to Gifu City Science Museum. There are regular exhibits in the place throughout the month.


  • Address: 3456-41 Honjo, Gifu, Gifu Prefecture 500-8389, Japan
  • Phone: +81 58-272-1333
  • Hours: 10am to 5pm
  • Access: Nishi-Gifu Station, Gifu Bus

11. Nagara River Fireworks Festival

The Nagara River Fireworks Festival happens every last Saturday of July and on the first Saturday of August. This festival is comprised of two events, sponsored by two rival news outlets, Gifu Shinbun, and Chunichi Shinbun. The location of the fireworks is at the Nagara River bank, with the background of Mt.Kinka.


  • Address: Nagara Riverbank
  • Date: July (last Saturday) and August (first Saturday)
  • Time: 6pm
  • Access: Shuttle buses from both JR Gifu stations and Meitetsu Gifu (4:30 pm)

12. Magome-Juku

A walk in the place of Magome-Juku can transport you back to the Edo period, some three hundred years in the past. This place is popular as an area that retains actual Japanese posting stations of that era. The guests will need to hike a little to go to Nakasendo from Magome to Tsumago. This scenic path is a favorite among overseas guests and visitors because it shows the authentic Japanese ancient life in Gifu.

13. Dōsan Festival

This major festival is held in the month of April (first Saturday and Sunday). The Dōsan Festival is in memory of Saitō Dōsan, where most of the festivities and revelry taking place in Jōzai-ji, where the remains of Dosan are buried. The Dōsan Festival is sometimes simply referred by other people as Gifu Festival.

14. Gifu Nobunaga Festival

The Gifu Nobunaga Festival is held in October, on the month’s 1st Saturday and Sunday. The festival is in celebration and memorial of a former Gifu lord. The location of the festival is in downtown and main streets of Gifu. The activities include a parade of participants in warrior costumes and horse processions.

15. Tejikara Fire Festival

The Tejikara Fire Festival is celebrated by Gifu two times every year on April (second Saturday) and August (second Sunday). This cultural heritage festival is held at the Tejikarao Shrine in April and at the Nagara River Park in August. You can see a lot of men (half naked) carrying devices and shrines.

Gifu’s a popular tourist destination,, with many attraction, drawing guests, visitors and neighboring towns to every part of the prefecture. The place also hosted many international events like the FIS Snowboard World Cup and the APEC JAPAN 2010 Meetings. You can do a lot of things in Gifu.

Have a good trip and travel!

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Asia, Chubu Region, Gifu Prefecture, Japan