Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gifu: A Quiet City in Gifu Prefecture

EMU JR Central N700 series passes through Gifu-Hashima Station on the Tokaido Shinkansen
 
Gifu is the major city in Gifu Prefecture, located about 400 km west of Tokyo. It has been developed as a castle city since the 13th century, and is currently known as the main city of Gifu Prefecture. The population is 406,000. Although Gifu is a large city, my first impression was that it is quiet when I visited there last month. But, why?

It is probably owing to the layout of the railways. Gifu City is isolated from the Shinkansen network. The nearest Shinkansen station is Gifu-Hashima in Hashima City, which is located about 15 km south of the downtown Gifu area. It takes about half an hour from Gifu-Hashima to Gifu Station by local train on the Nagoya Railway (Meitetsu), which is a bit inconvenient. This situation may keep sightseers from Gifu, but in fact, there are many places of interest in this city.

One of the must-see spots in Gifu City is Gifu Castle, which is located in the northernmost part of the downtown area. This castle was originally constructed by Nikaido Yukimasa in 1201, then owned by Oda Nobunaga, a famous feudal load, in the 16th century. The present building was reconstructed in 1956, but still keeps its medieval style. It is also known as a gorgeous city viewing spot among local people, as it was constructed at the summit of Mt. Kinkazan, which is 329 m above sea level.
 
Gifu is a bit quiet, but an attractive city for connoisseurs of travel.
 
Night view of Gifu Castle