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Gifu Prefecture Tourism and Event Newsletter Volume 15

Spring 2012 Edition

As the snow continues to melt away, signs of the coming spring are ever more apparent here in Gifu! I hope through this edition of “Gifu Crossroads” that you get a taste of the fantastic locales, sights, and sounds of the Gifu spring! Of course, when it comes to spring in Japan, the first thing that comes to mind is Japan’s beloved cherry blossom, followed by the return of fresh green colors and fascinating festivals. Here, I touch upon each of these as I introduce the spring season in Gifu!!

Cherry Blossom Season! Season! Usuzumi-zakura

Counted among Japan’s Three Great Cherry Trees is this mammoth of a tree, the 1,500+ year-old Usuzumi-zakura that is said to be Japan’s second oldest. Reputedly planted by the Keitai Emperor himself, it has a very unique color scheme: its buds are pink, then the blossoms at full-bloom are white, and finally the falling blossoms at the cycle’s end are a light gray that bring to mind thinned ink used in Japanese calligraphy. Come stand in awe of this grand cherry tree! Best t ime to see: April 16-22. ℡:+81-58-323-7756 Illumination until 9:00pm Neo Itasho, Motosu City

http://www.city.motosu.lg.jp/sight/usuzumi/ (Jp.) Access: Tarumi Station (Tarumi Railway)15min on foot

Hyakujuro-zakura

Lining both sides of the Shinsakai River are 1,200 cherry trees donated by a famous kabuki actor originally from the area. The area is illuminated with soothing paper lanterns at night, and is one of the best places in Japan to appreciate the sight of a cherry tree-lined river! Best time to see: April 8-14. Soharaoshima-cho~Ozano-cho, Kakamigahara City ℡:+81-58-383-9925 Access: Meitetsu Shimin Koen-mae Station1min on foot http://www.kakamigaharakanko.org/contents/2007/01/post_108.html (Jp.)

Yoro Park

From the entrance of the park to the famed Yoro Waterfall, the entire 2 kilometer-long path is lined with gorgeous cherry trees, making for a splendid area to take a walk and take in the surrounding nature. The area turns a brilliant pink with the 3,000 cherry trees, and is a fantastic sight in day or night! Sitting along the river and gazing at the cherry blossoms is also a national pastime you can enjoy here! Best time to see: April 15-22. Yoro-cho Access: Yoro Station (Yoro Railway)15min on foot http://www.yoro-park.com/ (Jp.) ℡:+81-584-32-0501

Kamagatani Valley

A natural habitat of wild cherry trees since long ago, Kamagatani Valley boasts 1,500 cherry trees that, from afar, make the entire area look as if it were shrouded in a pink mist. Make your way here, a place chosen as one of the 100 best cherry blossom-viewing locations in all of Japan (along with a few others on this list) and dist inguished by the fact that it is a natural habitat, which is in fact fairly rare! Best time to see: April 8-15. Ikeda-cho, Ibi-gun Access: Ikeno Station (Yoro Railway)40min on foot http://www.town.ikeda.gifu.jp/kankou/kankou2/kankou2-1.htm (Jp.) ℡:+81-585-45-3111

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BIG NEWS!! The Gifu Prefecture Tourism Federation’s foreign language websites have been completely revamped! In English as well as several other languages, a trove of reliable information regarding travel in Gifu is now easily available to all who are interested! And new destinations are being added and edited all the time to ensure that you are getting up-to-date information…and lots of it! You can also easily download fantastic photographs of Gifu’s sights, so please have a look and take this chance to learn more about GIFU, the Center of Japan!

English website: http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/

Festivals Takayama Spring Festival

Also known as the “Sanno Festival,” the Takayama Spring Festival (along with its autumn counterpart) is counted as one of Japan’s Three Most Beautiful Festivals. The 12 gorgeous floats paraded through town and the hypnotizing karakuri marionette performances are the highlights of this treasured event. Enjoy walking around Takayama’s Historical District as you get caught up in the festival spirit! Date: April 14, 15 Shiroyama (Hie Shrine Area), Takayama City Float parade: 9:30am-4:00pm Access: JR Takayama Station12min on foot http://www.hidanet.ne.jp/e02/ematsuri/eharu.htm ℡:+81-577-32-3333

Furukawa Festival

Featuring a fearless, raw performance of traditional Japanese taiko drums called “Okoshi-daiko,” meant to stir your spirit and soul, the Furukawa Festival also prides itself on gorgeous floats similar to those of the Takayama Festival. Attending this event, a designated national Intangible Folk Cultural Property, in the old district of Furukawa really makes spectators feel like they have been pulled into an old picture scroll! Date: April 19, 20 ℡:+81-577-74-1192 Streets of Furukawa-cho, Hida City Access: Close by JR Furukawa Station http://www.city.hida.gifu.jp/kanko/foreign/en/maturi/furukawa_matsuri/index.html

Mino Festival

The Mino Festival is truly the kind of festival you can only find in a place that is a historical center for Japanese paper. Of course, Mino City is the birthplace of the famed Mino washi paper, and that fact is much celebrated through this festival! The portable shrines that characterize Shinto fest ivals are decorated with Mino washi, creat ing unique, eye-catching “flower shrines” that make the Mino Festival unlike any other! Date: April 14, 15 Hachiman Shrine, Udatsu no Agaru Machinami, Mino City Time: 9:00am-7:00pm Access: Mino-shi Station (Nagaragawa Railway)10min on foot ℡: +81-575-33-1122 http://www.mino-city.jp/en/tourist/festival01.html

Tejikara Fire Festival

This festival is certainly one you will never forget! With half-clothed men spiritedly heaving the portable shrine while 1,000 handheld fireworks erupt into flames all around them, the Tejikara Fire Festival is flashy, energet ic, and one not to be missed! Date: April 14 Time: 2:30pm-7:00pm Tejikarao Shrine, 6-8-22 Kuranomae, Gifu City ℡: +81-58-245-2520 Access: Tejikara Station (Meitetsu Kakamigahara Line)5min on foot http://www.gifucvb.or.jp/en/02_event/02_02.html

Toki Mino Ceramics Festival

At this ceramics festival, one of the three largest in Japan, you can appreciate Mino yaki ceramics of all shapes, sizes, and colors! Addit ionally, the best selection of discounted ceramic goods you will find means that you will really get your buck’s worth, so those with an interest in pottery should absolutely make their way to this festival! Date: May 3-5 Time: 9:00am-5:00pm Oribe Hills, Izumi Kitayama-cho, Toki City Access: Shuttle bus from JR Toki Station (North Exit) for the duration of the festival http://www.facebook.com/36tokiminoyakimaturi (Jp.) ℡:0572-55-1322

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Ogaki Festival

Begun to commemorate the reconstruction of the Hachiman Shrine, the Ogaki Festival boasts unique festival floats called “Yama,” some of which have small stages attached. These floats are the main attraction, and the spectacle of children dancing on the stages gives the festival a very distinct feel! Date: May 12, 13 Time: 9:00am-7:00pm ℡:0584-81-4111 Hachiman Shrine, By JR Ogaki Station, etc. Access: JR Ogaki Station6min on foot http://www.ogakikanko.jp/english/calendar/index.html th ※In related news, on April 8 , the “Oku no Hosomichi Musubi no Chi Memorial Hall,” celebrating famed haiku poet Matsuo Basho and his legendary journey “Narrow Road to the Deep North,” which he ended in Ogaki, is opening! Come join in the festivities from 9:30am to 3:00pm! http://www.city.ogaki.lg.jp/0000013321.html (Jp.)

Start of of the Season! Touring Osaka Falls

Designated as one of Gifu Prefecture’s “Brand New Treasures,” the Osaka Falls region in Gero opened to the public in 2012 on March 25! Formed many thousands of years ago by an eruption of nearby Mt. Ontake, this region brims with more waterfalls than any other area of Japan! Each one has its own unique characteristics, which makes touring the grounds a refreshing experience with a new sight around every corner! From beginner to expert, there are courses of various difficulty ℡:0576-62-2215 levels—something for everybody!http://www.osaka-taki.com/ (Jp.) Osaka-cho, Gero City Access: JR Hida Osaka Station14min by Nohi bus

Cormorant Fishing on the Nagara River

This ceremony has been carried out on the waters of the Nagara River, with Gifu Castle and Mt. Kinka looming in the background, for 1,300 years! The old fishing method, using cormorants to catch fish guided only by a blazing torch at the bow of the boat, continues to be performed and continues to wow spectators to this day! Come see what all the fuss is about! Price: Adults- 3,000-3,300yen; Children- 2,600-2,900yen Date: May 11-October 15 Time: 6:45pm- Access: JR/Meitetsu Gifu Stationbus to “Nagara-bashi” Minato-machi 1-2, Gifu City http://www.gifucvb.or.jp/en/01_sightseeing/01_01.html ℡:058-262-0104

~ Promotion #1: A FlatFlat-Rate Rental Car Pass Perfect for Free and Easy Trips! ~ Gifu Prefecture, Central Nippon Expressway, and TOYOTA Rent a Car have created the “G-Pass,” a flat-rate pass that allows drivers of a Toyota rental car from Central Japan International Airport to drive unlimited on designated highways for a 7-day period! The first such pass in Honshu, the G-Pass (7,000 or 9,000 yen) makes driving in the central Japan area a breeze, even for those unfamiliar with Japan’s expressway system! Applications accepted until June 24. Come enjoy the sights of Gifu! http://global.c-nexco.co.jp/en/whatsnew/20120221-2.html

~ Promotion #2: Making a Trip to Takayama Easier and More Affordable than Ever! ~ Gifu Prefecture and the JR Central Japan Railway Company have teamed up to bring you an independent travel package to Takayama like no other! 3 nights in Takayama + 2 nights in Nagoya + Takayama⇔Nagoya train pass + Nagoya⇔Kyoto (or Ise or Shizuoka) train pass + much more! For detailed information, please refer to the following: http://www.japanican.com/tours/tourdetail.aspx?tc=GMT01NGOOVJSRTKA

For questions, comments, or to unsubscribe, please contact c11334@pref.gifu.lg.jp. For more on tourism in Gifu Prefecture, please refer to the following: ☆ Gifu Crossroads Facebook Page ☆ http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gifu-Crossroads/165137586854382 Gifu Travel Guide http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/ Chubu Wide-area Tourism Portal Site http://www.kandou10.jp/en/area/area05.html JNTO http://www.jnto.go.jp/

Publisher: Tourism Division, Tourism Exchange Promotion Office Department of Commerce, Labor, and Industry Gifu Prefectural Government 2-1-1 Yabuta-minami, Gifu City, GIFU 500-8570

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[TEL] +81-058-272-1111 (Ext. 3058) [FAX] +81-058-278-2674 [E-mail] q00869@govt.pref.gifu.jp

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Gifu Event Newsletter - Spring 2012