Today, I offer you a video in a more contemplative style with a return in Gifu prefecture, which I particularly like, as well as the discovery of the pretty town of Kanazawa in neighboring Ishikawa prefecture. In short, a quiet walk in a peaceful Japan!
GERO ONSEN, ONE OF THE 3 MOST FAMOUS ONSEN IN JAPAN
Direction first Gero Onsen, known to be one of the 3 most famous Onsen in Japan (along with Arima Onsen and Kusatsu Onsen). It is clearly a must-see in Gifu prefecture and this time I am offering you a small quiet day to stroll through the city through its Onsenji temple, the traditional village Gasho Mura, his specialty Tomatodon at the Blanc Du Etoile restaurant or its sweet specialty, the Manure to Gero Pudding.
In the evening I spent the night at Wanpakutei, a Ryokan located in the heart ofœheart of Gero Onsen which offers good value for money: from 8,500 yen (70 €) per night + 2 meals with a nice Onsen. I also went to a rather special show which is very popular in Gero: Amazing Thailand, a really nice trans show to see for 3,500 yen (28 €) per hour with unlimited alcohol.
THE OLD CITY OF TAKAYAMA
The next day I went to visit Takayama, probably the most popular place in Gifu. It’s a pretty town known for its historic district Furui machinami which immerses us in the Japan of the Edo period but also for its many Sake breweries, a great local specialty.
It is also a very peaceful place to walk with beautiful corners to explore such as the old historic quarter, the Miyagawa Asaichi market (every day from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.), the villa Takayama Jinya, The sanctuary Hie-jinja (which inspired the movie Your Name) or Higashiyama Yuhodo, a hiking trail through many temples and shrines.
HIDA-FURUKAWA, ONE OF MY FAVORITES IN GIFU
Then head to the town of Hida, just above Takayama, to walk the streets of Hida-Furukawa, one of my big hitsœur to Gifu. This is the city that served as the model for the film Your Name (see my video on Your Name’s places in Japan).
It is a popular place for bike tours in the middle of the rice fields, I had just planned to do that with Hida Local Experience for 6000 yen (50 €) the 3 hours of visit but the rain thwarted my plans… So I still took advantage of the place but more quietly, in the company of my guide Juri.
YATSUSANKAN, A DIVE INTO DREAMS
In the evening, I slept in Hida-Furukawa in an exceptional Ryokan: Yatsusankan.
It is an inn that dates from 150 years ago with a nice Onsen but above all a magnificent atmosphere. We are immersed in a dreamlike universe with all the decorations and it is clearly in my top Ryokan that I was able to do in Japan, especially the dinner which was by far number 1.
MORNING IN HIDA-FURUKAWA
The next day, I spent the morning at Hida-Furukawa and took the opportunity to taste what is for me the best Melon Pan in Japan at the cafe Ichinomachi which is a big recommendation to Hida. I also went to do a little experiment at Hida No Mori Megumi, a store of medicinal herbs.
SHIRAKAWAGO, THE POPO CARD PLACE OF GIFU
Direction then Shirakawago, a place that brings together several historic villages nestled in the mountains. This is Gifu’s very popular popo map spot with its famous thatched-roof houses that have stood for 250 years and provide stunning backdrops in any season!
I have been for lunch and to experience Suttate Jiru (traditional soup) at Toyamake, a slightly off-center house that you can visit. Lunch and the experience cost only 2000 yen (€ 15).
TOUR OF THE PRETTY CITY OF KANAZAWA
From Shirakawago, I then took a one hour bus to reach Kanazawa, capital of Ishikawa prefecture. It is a historic city which was one of the most powerful during the Edo period and has greatly developed its arts with in particular Geisha, lacquer, tea or even gold leaf.
It is really a beautiful destination for a trip, you can visit everything on foot and the city is very pleasant. You can discover its must-sees in one day with the Samurai district Nagamachi, The sanctuary Oyama-jinja, the Omicho fish market, Restaurant Manmarumaru, the 3 quarters of Geisha Higashi Chayagai, Kazuemachi Chayagai and Nishi Chayagai, the kanazawa castle, the garden Kenrokuen or the sanctuary Ishiura-jinja.
There you have it, this corner of Japan represents a great alternative to the big classic circuits while keeping a certain comfort since English is very common in most of these places (especially Takayama and Kanazawa).