While the capital city is a landlocked prefecture, the mighty Nagara River curves its way through and is the site of a 1000 year old tradition unique to Gifu City. From mid-May through mid-October you can witness Cormorant Fishing which takes place in the evening. Instead of using nets, or rods, fisherman use Cormorant birds to catch ayu. Charlie Chaplin witnessed cormorant fishing and was reportedly impressed enough to visit again.
Gifu City’s most famous resident was Oda Nobunaga, the military leader intent on unifying Japan. He resided in Gifu Castle which sits atop Mt. Kinka. A golden statue paying homage to his legacy greets visitors at JR Gifu Station. You can ride a ropeway up to the castle. From there you can survey a 360 degree view of the city and imagine yourself as Nobunaga looking out over his territory.
One of the great things about Gifu City is that you can escape urban life without leaving town. Hiking around Mt. Kinka, or across the river at the city’s highest point, Mt. Dodogamine, you can surround yourself with sounds of nature.
Gifu City is also famous for being the largest producer of paper umbrellas and lanterns in the entire country. Not so well known attractions are The Royal Theater that shows vintage Japanese films daily, and fireflies in spring on the south side of JR Gifu station.
It’s a great town for walking or you can rent a bicycle. Going through the side streets from JR Gifu Station up to the Yanagase covered pedestrian mall you can see tons of small eateries and shops. If you’re into bridges, you can walk or ride across the eye catching Ukai Bridge that crosses the Nagara River.
Gifu City is easily accessible from all directions, and easy to get around.
There’s something here for everyone from history buffs, to foodies, from cultural enthusiasts to nature lovers. If you’re coming to Japan, or already in the country why not come and explore in Gifu City.