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Population (approx.): 2.069 million (2012)
Area: 2,101 sq miles
Area Rank: 7
Gifu Prefecture is located in the Chubu region and is one of the few prefectures in Japan that is landlocked, not touching a large body of water. The area is fairly rural with several hot springs and rural towns being the town’s highlights. One of these popular traditional towns is Takayama, a town of old wooden houses standing side-by side. The city of Takayama holds the annual Takayama Festival, one of the three largest and most beautiful festivals in Japan. During the festival intricate floats roam the city, utilizing the essence of Hida's traditional techniques. Tens of thousands of locals and tourists from all over Japan and more come together to join in on the celebration. Takayama retains a traditional touch like few other Japanese cities, especially in its beautifully preserved old town. It now ranks as one of the prime candidates among travelers wishing to add a rural element into their itineraries. Another popular site in Gifu is Shirakawago, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for their traditional farmhouses “gassho-zukuri”. Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer", as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. Some of these houses are more than 250 years old yet the architectural style developed over many generations allowed it to withstand the large amounts of snow and heavy winters.
Takayama Festival-One of the Most Beautiful Festivals in Japan
Quiet Mountain Town in the Kiso Valley
UNESCO World Heritage Gassho-zukuri farmhouses
Beautifully Preserved with Old Homes in Takayama
Served as the local government office in Edo era
Find local fresh vegetables, fruits, mountain vegetables of Takayama
Healing Waters - One of the Best Onsen in Japan
Amazing Aerial View of the Okuhida Region
Gifu is famous for its “kurikinton”, mashed sweet potatoes with candied chestnuts. Kurikinton is most commonly enjoyed by the rest of the country on New Years as part of osechi, traditional Japanese New Years. In Gifu though, kurikinton is not limited to an osechi dish. Kurikinton is more widely available in Gifu and served with tea throughout the year. Kurikinton also make great souvenirs.
A famous local dish of Gifu is "keichan-yaki". Keichan-yaki consists of chicken, cabbage, and onions which are served on a piece of wax paper. The dish is cooked in front of you either on a hot plate or skillet, seasoned with a soy based sweet and spicy sauce.
Japanese confectionery made from kuzu starch and red bean paste
Skewered Grilled Rice Cakes
Gifu is famous for its umbrellas, Gifu wagasa, which have been recognized as a traditional craft of Gifu prefecture. Its origin is said to have been the Edo Period when the Kano clan encouraged the production of Gifu wagasa to low class samurais to help with their incomes. Gifu wagasas are produced from washi, or Japanese paper, and bamboo. The process is quite complicated and time consuming, taking several months to complete a single Gifu wagasa.
Takayama Festival is considered one of the three most beautiful festivals in Japan. The festival features a parade of large floats (yatai) decorated with thick curtains, lacquer ware, and mechanical dolls (karakuri). The gorgeous floats are paraded through towns filled with spectators who have gathered to watch this magnificent parade. Streets are filled with vendors, adding to the festive experience. Takayama Festival is held twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Though both are beautiful, the fall festival is considered one of the three largest festivals in Japan.
Decorated Floats Yatai and Portable Shrine Mikoshi
Cormorant Fishing in the Nagara River