Travelling in Gifu is great in that regardless of what season you go, you are guaranteed a great experience. Be it seeing the snow-capped mountains on a gondola, and warming up in an open air onsen afterwards, or swimming in the river and dancing the night away at a festival in the summer, Gifu provides various activities and great landscapes for every season.
Held on April 14th and 15th, the Takayama Spring festival is famous for its gorgeously decorated Japanese floats which move through the town in procession. They look especially beautiful surrounded by the Sakura trees that bloom during that time. On the floats are intricately crafted marionettes that can accomplish lifelike movements as well! At night, lanterns are lit up on the floats, providing a completely different atmosphere. And if you can’t make it in Spring, they also hold one in Autumn!
Gujo Hachiman is by far the best area to be in Gifu in summer. Gujo is known for its clear waters, and the two rivers that flow through the town. The rivers are open to swimmers and fishing, which is valuable for landlocked Gifu. You can also do other activities such as making replica foods from plastic. At night, a special festival is held from mid-July to September for 30 days straight! At the Gujo Dance festival, everyone from the locals to tourists wear Yukata and Geta sandals and dance around a tower in a circle. A total of 300,000 people come every year to experience the festival.
While the UNESCO World Heritage Site is definitely a sight to see all-year-round, it is especially beautiful in the Autumn, particularly because this is the harvest season. The old-fashioned buildings known as Gassho-zukuri are surrounded by mountains which become bright orange and red in Autumn, right along with the golden rice paddies that separate the buildings. In addition, some of the old houses provide accommodation via reservation, and others provide traditional arts and crafts activities. From the Shiroyama Viewpoint, you will also be able to get an entire view of the town!
Warm up in the Gero Hot Springs in Winter
Gifu is cold! It is especially colder near the mountains, where there are sometimes pathways with walls of snow on either side. Though the views are definitely beautiful, from the snow-covered roofs of the Gassho-zukuri, to the powdered Japanese alps, where would you be able to warm up? The Hot springs, of course! Gifu is known as the area with the most open air hot springs in Japan. Gero, a town in Gifu, is especially known for its “smooth” waters. Better yet, Gero also has a variety of traditional activities to do such as Japanese paper making and paining ceramics, if you start feeling cabin fever.