Gifu Castle standing on the Mt.Kinka provides visitors with nice panoramic views day and night. They can also enjoy watching a traditional unique event Cormorant Fishing on the Nagara River while eating dinner in a viewing boat. Sir Charlie Chaplin visited Gifu twice to enjoy this event. Besides, a photogenic street Kawara-machi and the Great Buddha statue in Shoboji-temple move you so much.
At JR Gifu Station
・Public tea house(Matcha-tea break)
・Shobo-ji (Great Buddha)
・Nagara River Ukai Museum
・Comorant Fishing*(11 May to 15 October)
・Night view from the castle*(all nights from 27 April to 6 May; all nights from 13 June to 31 August; only Saturday,Sunday and national holidays from 1 September to 14 October)
At JR Gifu Station
Gifu city developed as a castle town during the wartime era in the 16th century. A great warlord, Oda Nobunaga, established this city. The GIFU CASTLE stands on the top of Mt. Kinka and you can easily go there by riding the gondola-lift. From the castle, you can enjoy an excellent view of the city between the Nagara and Kiso rivers. Even though many parts of the center of the city were destroyed by bombing during WWⅡ, a few traditional castle-town areas with temples and shrines still remain at the foot of Mt.Kinka. Walking into this area might make you feel like time slipped to the Edo period. A Matcha-tea break will give you a good chance to know Japanese culture.
On the other hand, the area between Gifu Station and the Yanagase district is a modernized commercial zone filled with many fancy shops and restaurants. Therefore, you can visit not only urban Japan but also pre-modern traditional Japan in only one day.
From May 11th to October 15th, why not enjoy cormorant fishing known as Ukai on the Nagara River at night. Cormorant fishing is a traditional fishing style that started over 1300 years ago. You can enjoy eating and drinking on a viewing-boat on the river and see how the fishing-masters manipulate birds to catch sweetfish, Ayu. The ephemeral performance by the fishermen and birds will give you a small glimpse of the old days. If you want to know more about cormorant fishing, you should visit the Nagara River Ukai Museum. This museum is the only one of its kind and features exhibits on everything relating to cormorant fishing.
A night castle tour by lift is another option for your night out on the tour. The panorama view from the castle balcony is unforgettable.
(example itinerary A)
・JR Gifu Station(meeting point) 13:00
・Strolling around Station Front 13:00~13:30
・Public tea house(tea break) 13:40~14:20
・Shobo-ji(Great Buddha) 14:30~15:00
・Nagaragawa Ukai Museum 15:10~16:10
・comorant fishing 18:00~20:30
・ night view from the castle 20:30~21:30
・JR Gifu Station 22:00
(example itinerary B)
・JR Gifu Station(meeting point) 10:30
・Gifu Castle 11:00~12:20
・Shobo-ji(Great Buddha) 13:20~13:50
・Public tea house(tea break) 14:00~14:30
・Nagaragawa Ukai Museum 15:00~16:00
・comorant fishing 18:00~20:30
・JR Gifu Station 21:00
・A few restaurants serve Hida-beef which many people claim is the best in Japan..
・If you’re looking to eat Japanese food, I highly recommend the sweet fish Ayu.
*an attached video shows a scene of cormorant fishing
guide fee and pick-up in a hotel in central area of Gifu city
transportation fee for guide and guests
entrance fee for guide and guests (Gifu CIty Museum:300yen, Shobo-ji:200yen, Nagaragawa Ukai Museum:500yen)
comorant fishing boat fee for guide and guests (adult/child:3400/1700yen per person)
lunch,tea and dinner(2000-3000yen/person) for guide and guests
A1. Basically everyday between May 11th and October 15th except when the river water is too high or the weather is bad for fishing.
A2. Everyday between April 27th and May 6th, everyday between July 13th and August 31st, every weekends and holidays between September 1st and October 14th
A3. Yes, that's right.
We had a very enjoyable 4 hours of hiking in the valley and woods between Magome and Tsumago, or what is known as the Nakasendo trail, with Tetsuji-San. Since the planning stage, Tetsuji answered every question that we had and he suggested route and things to do. He was thorough in his planning. When we met, he gave us brochures and other printed materials about the history of the trail as well as the village, Tsumago, where we will spend a night. Once we arrived at the village where we’d start the walk, he took us to couple of eating places. He encouraged us to try some of the local food. Making sure we had good energy before the walk :). Do try the Gohei-mochi. We had one during our stay in Tsumago. It was delicious and seriously addictive. :) He was knowledgeable and also patient with us during the hiking. Our kids enjoyed to be out and about in nature that they liked to stop frequently to observe some of the things they saw (that was why the 3 hours hiking became almost 4 hours). Throughout the hike he made good effort in explaining about some of the things that we came across and/or the history of the area. He also was able to answer what questions we might have had. A bit of a back story: Few days before our hike, due to June being rainy season in Japan, we monitored the local weather. We got anxious when we learned the local weather bureau predicted that it will be raining and thunderstorm in the area where our hike will be. Even in the morning of the hike, the prediction was still “rain with thunderstorm”. However, with a plan B and lots of preparation, we went ahead and were extremely glad to learn that the only “rain with thunderstorm” that we received during our hike was just a short and very light sprinkle when we arrived at the (Free) Tea House, almost half point of our hike. So, Tetsuji-San’s prediction was better than the Meteorological Agency. Earlier in the morning, he predicted that the rain won’t be as heavy and it would be just a temporary shower but no thunderstorm. He really knows the area well. :) All in all, we were very happy that we had him as our guide for the hike in Nakasendo trail. What a beautiful moment that was! Our family will always cherish our time in Nakasendo trail. Domo arigatou-gozaimasu Tetsuji-San.
I appreciate your excellent review. Yes, the key factor of our tour was the weather. Actually, I had been worried about it considering plan B until the tour started, but we had the best day for walking in the end. I can’t help realizing that you and your family members brought such a fortune for yourselves. I hope you will visit central Japan,especially Gifu, again. I am really looking forward to seeing you.
We did the Magome to Tsugama section of the nakasendo trail tetsuji arrive punctually at the hotel where we stayed to meet us and the meat are we to magome efficiently and quickly without any delays and extremely comfortable SB decided to choose riding reserved seats in the train. Also he advised a taxi from the train station to the start point so as to not wait more than 20 minutes for the next bus. It was good advise as we had lots more time to enjoy the trek. He was informative and made great attempt to answer our questions! Some perhaps too botanical! He recommended a few local snacks which were delightful and ended with coffee before returning to Nagoya. He spent 9 hours with us and returned to Nagoya with us where we parted ways. All together we had a very pleasant day and were blessed with excellent weather!
Thank you for quick review. I am so relieved to know that you are satisfied with my tour and guiding. Actually, I enjoyed myself walking through pleasant communication with you and your wife.I have also noticed that I should have lots of subjects to study and prepare for guests. I repeatedly thank you again and look forward to seeing you again.
Tetsuji is great guided tours. He took us to wonderful places and a good restaurant. I recommend him very much Gil
Thank you for the quickest review. I am grateful for your good words. I hope you will stay happy and fit. Thank you again and take care.
Very happy to tour with Tetsuji-san! We arranged a visit to Mino for traditional Washi (paper) crafts, as well as Seki for the Sword museum and a knife making factory tour. In addition to planning a great day in Mino & Seki, he helped keep us on schedule with trains, arranged a delicious lunch, and did a great job of answering our questions. After the trip, Tetsuji was kind enough to send us pictures he had taken of us during the day to help with the memory book of our vacation. Excellent communication during pre-trip planning, as well as during the day of our trip. It was such a relief to have Tetsuji with us in these areas of Japan less traveled by tourists. Highly recommended!
Thank you so much for your great review, Charlene. I am happy to have known that you and Kyle seemed to have enjoyed realizing some Japanese culture throughout my guided tour. I hope you will visit Japan again and spend some happy time with me someday.