The prefecture of Gifu has played a critical role in Japan’s feudal history. Warring shoguns and their samurai fought great battles to control this strategically important central region.
Even after unification, Gifu remained a centre of power, where Japanese traditions are diligently preserved. And none more so than sword making, it’ a well-known fact in Japan that the finest swords are crafted in Gifu! The region is home to two of our favourite destinations in Japan, Edo-period “Little Kyoto” Takayama and the fairy tale-like Shirakawa-go.
Takayama lies in the heart of the Japanese Alps, in a picturesque riverside setting. It was a bustling merchant town during the 17th and 18th centuries, and much of the town has barely changed. It’s packed full of little galleries, old artisan shops, museums, traditional inns and sake breweries, and we recommend hopping on a bicycle to explore. Typically Japanese shrines and temples are tucked away in the surrounding hills.
A Unesco World Heritage site since 1995, Shirakawa-go is a breathtaking region of hilly pastoral beauty dotted with 200yr old farmhouse with triangular <em>gassho-zukuri</em> style thatched roofs. During the winter Shirakawa-go’s storybook charm only increased with thick blankets of snow, while spring sees the famous cherry blossoms in full bloom.
Tourism in Shirakawa-go has been carefully managed to preserve its heritage and natural beauty. Talk to our highly-experienced Travel Designers for more information on a luxury tailor-made tour of Takayama and Shirakwa-go.