Population: 2,022,785 (October 2016)
Surface area: 10.621,29 Km2
The prefecture of Gifu is one of the very few prefectures that is not bordered by the sea and is contained within the confines of seven other Japanese prefectures.
To the north it is bordered by the prefectures of Ishikawa and Toyama, to the south by the prefectures of Aichi and Nara, to the west by Shiga and Fukui and to the east by the prefecture of Nagano.
The prefecture is made up of a mountainous region to the north which is known as the Hina Region and which includes high mountains that form part of the Japanese Alps.
Then there is a fertile flat area to the south which is known as the Mino region which is where the majority of the population lives.
The climate is characterized by cold winters and extremely hot summers. The city of Tajimi to the east has managed to register the highest temperature ever recorded in Japan.
Known historically for the production of excellent quality Mino paper (due to which, it is twinned with the city of Amalfi in Italy which is one of the main centres of paper production in Italy), it is also known for the craftsmanship of its lantern and umbrella production as well as being famous for its production of ceramics and knives, the latter skill being inherited from the ancient tradition of sword-making for which Gifu became one of the most important and well-known locations in the country.
There is also a lot of land given over to agricultural production, which is common in most of the Japanese prefectures and includes rice cultivation, and the subsequent production of sake as well as the growing of a wide variety of vegetables.
The Japanese aerospace industry has been developed in the Kakamigahara zone.
Both the steel industry and general manufacturing have a strong presence in the area.
In the Ogaki zone there is a concentration of the new technologies that are being developed.
What to see
There is a beautiful area called Shirakawa-go (the countryside of Shirakawa) which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the presence of rural houses, some of which were built centuries ago, which are called gassho-zukuri because of the peculiarity of the roofs which look like the palms of two hands joined in prayer (gasshō is the act of joining hands in Buddhist prayer).
Also worth seeing is the mountain town of Hida Takayama which became prosperous through its production of wood during the Edo period and in autumn and spring there are matsuri celebrations (Japanese festivals) held here which are considered to be amongst the most beautiful in the country.
Furukawa, which is a short distance from Takayama, also merits a visit because of its houses which date back to the Edo period.
The village of Gujo Hachiman is famous for its dancing during the Obon Festival, but also because it is the place where the majority of the replica dishes that are exhibited in restaurant windows are produced
Gero Onsen, which is to the south of Takayama, was historically considered to be one of the best thermal resorts in Japan.
Since the 4th Century A.D., part of Yamato’s kingdom, because of its central location, was already seen as a strategic location of great importance as well as being the scene of many decisive battles that took place during the history of the conflicts that raged over who would hold power in Japan.
The Battle of Jinshin in 672, which raised the Emperor Tenmu onto the Imperial throne, was fought in this prefecture.
The city of Gifu, which was founded in 1567 by Oda Nobunaga was where the latter made his base and from here, he carried out his project for the unification of Japan.
During the warring period between the states, it was usual for the feudal warlords to say “If you control Gifu, you control Japan.”
The city of Gifu and the entire region benefitted hugely from development thanks to Nobunaga.
The region’s growth continued, even during the Edo period in that the Tokugawa enabled one of Japan’s 5 main arteries, the Nakasendo Way, to cross the prefecture.
In 1871, the epicentre of one of the largest earthquakes in Japanese history was located in the city that is known today as Motosu, in the southern part of the prefecture.
Tremendous damage was suffered across the entire prefecture. More than 30% of the city of Gifu was destroyed by fire.
During the Second World War, the industrial zones of the prefecture were the targets of massive bombing raids.
[ Mar.2016 ] We had a few hours before taking the train, so we walked a bit in Gero town in Japan. It was sunny but the wind was very cold. We saw a …
We went to Takayama from Shirakawago in Japan by bus. What I was looking forward to in Takayama was…
From Hida Takayama we moved to Gero and stayed one night there. Gero Onsen hot spring resort is regarded one of the top three hot springs in Japan.