Translated by Allie
The Charms of Gifu Prefecture in Every Season - Geography and Climate
Gifu prefecture is located in the center of Japan, an area with stunning natural landscapes. This article offers information on the climate and attractions of Gifu.
Written by NemotoAkina
Have you ever heard about Japan's Gifu prefecture? Gifu is located in the center of the Japanese archipelago, an area with rich nature, as it is surrounded by mountains and rivers. Gifu is found between Tokyo and Kyoto, and right in the north of Nagoya. Although Gifu has a lot to offer to travelers in matters of stunning natural landscapes and traditional culture and architecture, the charm of Gifu might be still not well known among international visitors. We would like to introduce what can be seen in Gifu focusing on its climate.
Gifu - A Different Climate in the North and the South
Gifu prefecture can be mainly divided into two parts, the northern part and the southern part. Even in the same prefecture, it may happen that the climate is totally different in the north and the south. Please make sure "which part of Gifu you are going to visit" before your trip. The blue part in the image above is the northern part historically called Hida region. On the other hand, the orange part is the south of Gifu, called Mino region. We will tell you what each part of Gifu is like and how to travel there.
Hida - Mountainous Region With A Lot of Snow in Winter
Climate of the Hida Region
Hida region is surrounded by mountains, so it is pretty cold as the temperature goes below minus and has a lot of snow in winter. It is recommended that you wear a thick jacket from the end of October to April, as it can get pretty cold in the morning and the night. In addition, many areas of Hida region, even the cities, tend to be covered in snow from the end of November until March, which also might cause a delay in transport. If you travel there in winter, we highly recommend you plan your trip in such a way that it doesn't become a tight schedule. There are a lot of famous hot spring resorts available in the cities as well as in the suburbs. You could try them them out and warm up your body during the trip.
The Charms of Hida
Takayama, a city located in the center of Hida region offers traditional Japanese townscapes which are well known as the famous sightseeing places of Hida region. It is located right a few minutes away from the station. Japanese wooden one-story houses are lined up along the street, making Takayama known as Hida's small Kyoto, because it reminds people of Kyoto. A tourist information center at Takayama station provides pamphlets available in various languages. How about exploring the city using them?
If you travel to the mountainous area of Hida, you will be able to see traditional Japanese houses. These houses were constructed in the architectural style known as gassho-zukuri (*1), which is registered as UNESCO World Heritage. The main feature of these buildings is the steep roof. The shape of this roof prevents them from collapsing under the weight of the snow, as it allows for the snow to fall naturally. *1… Gassho-zukuri is a Japanese traditional wooden architectural style in which the roofs of the houses look like hands joined together in prayer.
How to Travel to Hida
In order to reach the Hida region, one usually passes through either Toyama prefecture or Nagoya city. If you fly to Toyama, you will reach Hida from there in one hour and a half by train or bus. Although you can also travel from Nagoya to Takayama, it takes about four hours.
Mino region - Plains and Mountains
Mino has both wide plains and mountains, which makes the climate in the east and the west different.
Climate of Mino (Plain Area)
The western part of Mino has a wide area called Nobi Plain. This area has hot summers and mild winters.
The Charms of Mino (Plain Area)
The Mino region is abundant in water as there are three big rivers flowing through this area. One of them is Nagara River, famous for its Ukai (cormorant fishing) (*2) events held every summer. You can find small mountains a little away from the central part of this area, allowing visitors to enjoy hiking. *2…Ukai is a traditional fishing method where cormorants are used to catch fish.
The Climate of Mino (Mountain Area)
The eastern area of Mino is enclosed by mountains, which affects the climate in such a way that the summers are hot and the winters are cold. Tajimi, where the highest temperatures were registered in Japan, is a city located in this area. It is really necessary to drink plenty of water in order to prevent becoming ill because of the heat during the summer here.
The Charms of Mino (Mountain Area)
This is the ideal region to try winter sports. It snows a lot from the end of November until March, allowing visitors to enjoy skiing and snowboarding on real snow. Gifu prefecture offers enjoyments throughout the year. Your trip will be more satisfying and pleasant if you know what to do and what you need to be careful about in each area along the four seasons.
How to Travel to Mino
Aichi prefecture is right next to Mino. The best way to reach Mino is via Nagoya. If you fly or take a bullet train to Nagoya from Tokyo, you will reach Gifu city in the Mino region in 20 minutes by train. Besides Gifu, there are many places which have a direct train connection from Nagoya. You can easily stop by some of the places in the Mino region before or after your trip to Nagoya.
Gifu Prefecture (Prefectural Office)
Address: Gifu Prefecture, Gifu, Yabutaminami 2-1-1
Closed: Weekends, Holidays, New Years
Credit Cards: -
Other Languages: -
Menus/Pamphlets in Other Languages: -
Nearest Station: JR Nishi-Gifu Station (西岐阜駅), JR Gifu Station (岐阜駅), Meitetsu Gifu Station (名鉄岐阜駅), JR Tōkaidō Shinkansen Gifu-Hashima Station(東海道新幹線岐阜羽島駅) Access: 10 minute bus ride by Nishi Gifu Kurukuru bus from Nishi-Gifu Station 20 minute bus ride by Gifu bus from Gifu Station and Meitetsu Gifu Station 20 minute ride by taxi from JR Tōkaidō Shinkansen Gifu-Hashima Station
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Phone Number: +81-58-272-1111 (Prefectural Office)
Website/Homepage: Gifu Prefectural Government Office