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Gifu Prefecture
Japanese: 岐阜県
Map of Japan with Gifu highlighted
Capital Gifu
Region Chūbu
Island Honshū
Governor Hajime Furuta
Area (rank) 10,621.17 km² (7th)
 - % water 0.2%
Population  (February 1, 2008)
 - Population 2,101,683 (18th)
 - Density 198 /km²
Districts 9
Municipalities 42
ISO 3166-2 JP-21
Website Gifu Prefectural Website
Prefectural Symbols
 - Flower Chinese milk vetch
(Astragalus sinicus)
 - Tree Japanese yew
(Taxus cuspidata)
 - Bird Rock ptarmigan
(Lagopus muta)
 - Fish {{{Fish}}}
Symbol of Gifu Prefecture
Symbol of Gifu Prefecture
Template ■ Discussion ■ WikiProject Japan

Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県 Gifu-ken ?) is a prefecture located in the Chūbu region of central Japan. Its capital is the city of Gifu. Located in the center of Japan, it has long played an important part as the crossroads of Japan, connecting the east to the west through such routes as the Nakasendō. During the Sengoku period, many people referred to Gifu by saying, "control Gifu and you control Japan."[1]



The land area that makes up modern-day Gifu became part of the Yamato Court around the middle of the fourth century. Because it is in the middle of the island of Honshū, it has been the site of many decisive battles throughout Japan's history, the oldest major one being the Jinshin War in 672, which led to the establishment of Emperor Temmu as the 40th emperor of Japan.

The land area of Gifu Prefecture consists of the old provinces of Hida and Mino, as well as smaller parts of Echizen and Shinano. The name of the prefecture derives from its capital city, Gifu, which was named by Oda Nobunaga during his campaign to unify all of Japan in 1567.[2] The first character used comes from Qishan (山), a legendary mountain from which most of China was unified, whereas the second character comes from Qufu (曲), the birthplace of Confucius.[3] Nobunaga chose those characters because he wanted to unify all of Japan and he wanted to be viewed as a great mind.

Historically, the prefecture served as the center of swordmaking in all of Japan, with Seki being known for making the best swords in Japan. More recently, its strengths have been in fashion (primarily in the city of Gifu) and aerospace engineering (Kakamigahara).

On October 28, 1891, the present-day city of Motosu was the epicenter for the Mino-Owari Earthquake, the largest earthquake to ever hit Japan.[4] The earthquake, estimated at 8.0 earthquake, left a huge cleft in the ground that can still be seen today.


Map of Gifu Prefecture

One of the few landlocked prefectures in Japan, Gifu shares borders with seven other prefectures: Aichi, Fukui, Ishikawa, Mie, Nagano, Shiga and Toyama. Japan's postal codes all start with a three-digit number, ranging from 001 to 999. Part of Gifu has the 500 prefix, reflecting its location in the center of Japan.



Gifu has five unofficial regions, which allows local municipalities to work together to promote the surrounding area. The five regions are Seinō,[5] Gifu,[6] Chūnō,[7] Tōnō[8] and Hida.[9] The borders of the regions are loosely defined, but they are usually delineated among major cities.


The northern Hida region is dominated by tall mountains, including parts of the Japanese Alps. The southern Mino region is mostly parts of the fertile Nōbi Plain, a vast plains area with arable soil. Most of the prefecture's population lives in the southern part of the prefecture, near the designated city of Nagoya.

The mountainous Hida region contains both the Hida Mountains,which are referred to as the "Northern Alps," and the Kiso Mountains, which are known as the "Central Alps" in Japan. The Ryōhaku Mountains are also located in the Hida region. Other major ranges include the Ibuki Mountains and the Yōrō Mountains.

Much of the Mino region is made up of the alluvial plain of the Kiso Three Rivers, which are the Ibi River, Kiso River and Nagara River. The source for all three rivers is located in Nagano Prefecture and they eventually run through Aichi and Mie prefectures before emptying into Ise Bay. Other major rivers in the prefecture include the Jinzū, Takahara, Shō, Shōnai, Yahagi and Itoshiro rivers.


Because the Mino region is surrounded by low mountains, the temperature fluctuates through the year, from hot summers to cold winters. The eastern city of Tajimi, for example, often records the hottest temperature in Japan each year. On August 16, 2007, it set the record for the hottest day recorded in Japan's history—40.9 degrees Celsius.[10] Summers are hotter, as the landlocked area becomes a heat island, and the temperature rises even further when hot, dry foehn winds blow over the Ibuki Mountains from the Kansai region. The Hida region, with its higher elevation, is generally cooler than the Mino region, although there are sometimes extremely hot days there, too. Shōkawa-chō, part of the city of Takayama, is located up in the mountains, and its location has led it to be called the coldest inhabited place on Honshū.


Traditional industries such as paper-making and agriculture are found in Gifu, but its economy is dominated by manufacturing including aerospace and automotive, with industrial complexes extending from the Nagoya area. A wealth of small component manufacturing is also found, such as precision machine, die and mold making, and plastic forming.

Traditional industries

The Mino region has long been known for its high-quality paper called Mino washi, which is stronger and thinner than most other papers in Japan, and was used by the Japanese military during World War II.[11] Other paper-based products include Gifu lanterns and Gifu umbrellas, made in the prefectural capital of Gifu. Other traditional goods include mino-yaki pottery in Tajimi, Toki, and Mizunami, cutlery in Seki, and lacquerware in Takayama.

Because Gifu has vast, arable plains, agriculture is also a major industry. The forests in the north provide materials for woodworking and for the viewing boats used in cormorant fishing. Sake is often brewed with clear water from the rivers.

Modern industries

Kakamigahara has a large role in the prefecture's modern industries. It boasts large aerospace facilities of both Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, as well as many metalworking and manufacturing companies.

Information technology (IT) is gaining a foothold in the prefecture with both Softopia Japan in Ōgaki and VR Techno Japan (part of Techno Plaza) in Kakamigahara. The capital city of Gifu, located between Ōgaki and Kakamigahara, is also working to strengthen its IT fields, too.


Traditional Housing in Shirakawa-gō

Gifu has many popular tourist attractions, bringing visitors to all parts of the prefecture. The most popular places are Gifu, Gero, Shirakawa and Takayama. Gifu is famous for cormorant fishing, which has a history of over 1,300 years, as for being a long-term residence of both Oda Nobunaga and Saitō Dōsan. Gero is known for its relaxing hot springs, which attract visitors throughout the year. Shirakawa's historic villages are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Takayama is famous for retaining its original appearance and is often referred to as Little Kyoto.

In addition to international tourists, Gifu also plays host to many international events. The World Event and Convention Complex Gifu is available for many types of events. Other areas of Gifu, too, bring international events, such as in 2005 when the World Rowing Championships were held in the city of Kaizu.


The Kamioka area of the city of Hida is home to the Super-Kamiokande and KamLAND experiments, neutrino and antineutrino observatories, respectively. Located 1,000 m (3,281 ft) underground in Kamioka Mining and Smelting Co.'s Mozumi Mine, the detector searches for neutrinos (and antineutrinos) from the high atmosphere, the sun and supernovae, and for KamLAND, from regional nuclear reactors. The Super-Kamiokande consists of a cylindrical stainless steel tank that is 41.4 m (135.8 ft) tall and 39.3 m (128.9 ft) in diameter holding 50,000 tons of ultra-pure water. Some of the 11,146 photomultiplier tubes are on display at the Miraikan in Tokyo. The same facility also hosts CLIO, a prototype detector for gravitational waves.


The prefecture's population was 2,101,969, as of September 1, 2007, with approximately 1.8 million people in the cities and the rest in towns and villages.[12] The percentage of male and female residents is 48.4% and 51.6%, respectively.[12] 14.4% of the population is no more than 14 years old, with 22.1% of the population being at least 65 years old.[12]

According to Japan's census, the country's center of population is located in Gifu Prefecture. In 2000, it was located in the former town of Mugi, which has since merged with Seki. In the most reason census in 2005, the center of population has moved slightly more to the east, but is still located within Gifu.


Gifu University Faculty of Engineering

Prefectural symbols

Prefectural Logo

Gifu's symbol comes from the first character gi (岐) of its Japanese name, written in a stylized script, surrounded by a circle, which represents the peace and harmony of the prefectural citizen. It was chosen by contest in 1932.[13]

The prefectural logo (see right) expands from the red dot into the center to the outer two lines and, finally, the yellow plain. This symbol was chosen in 1991 for the development and expansion of the prefecture.[13]

The prefecture also has two plants (the milk vetch and the Japanese yew) and two animals (the snow grouse and the ayu) as symbols. The milk vetch was chosen in 1954, because the prefecture is well known for its abundance of blooming milk vetch each spring. The yew was chosen in 1966, because it is the tree used to make ornamental sceptors for the emperor, many of which came from the Hida district. The snow grouse was chosen in 1961, as the birds live up in the Japanese alps and is a nationally-protected species. Ayu were chosen in 1989, because the fish is found in many prefectural rivers and is prized for its sweet taste.[13]


The view from the top of the hill in Magome-juku, Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture.

All of the cities, towns, villages and districts of Gifu Prefecture are listed below


Twenty-one cities are located in Gifu Prefecture:

Towns and villages

Towns and villages in each district:




  1. ^ Instant Gifu. Gifu International Center, 1995.
  2. ^ Stone ledger in front of Kashimori Shrine. Erected by Kashimori Shrine.
  3. ^ Gifu tour guide - Outline of Gifu Prefecture. Gifu Prefecture Tourist Federation. Accessed September 9, 2007.
  4. ^ Mino Earthquake. (Japanese) Tokyo Science Museum. Accessed July 5, 2007.
  5. ^ Nishi Mino Portal Site. (Japanese) Ginet. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  6. ^ Gifu Regional Promotion Office. (Japanese) Gifu Prefecture. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  7. ^ Chūnō Promotion Office. (Japanese) Gifu Prefecture. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  8. ^ Tōnō Promotional Office. (Japanese) Gifu Prefecture. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  9. ^ Hida Promotional Office. (Japanese) Gifu Prefecture. Accessed June 24, 2008.
  10. ^ Gifu Prefecture sees highest temperature ever recorded in Japan - 40.9 - Japan News Review
  11. ^ The Fire Balloons. Greg Goebel. Accessed November 23, 2007.
  12. ^ a b c Statistics Division of Gifu Prefecture. (Japanese) Gifu Prefecture. Accessed November 2, 2007.
  13. ^ a b c A Statistical Guide to Gifu Prefecture 2007. Gifu Prefecture. Accessed November 2, 2007.

External links

Coordinates: 35°29′N 136°54′E / 35.483°N 136.9°E / 35.483; 136.9

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Gifu (prefecture) article)

From Wikitravel

Gifu prefecture (岐阜県 Gifu-ken; [1]) is a region in the central Chubu region of the main Japanese island Honshu.


The self-proclaimed "Heart of Japan", the prefecture's defining feature is the northern stretch of the Japan Alps, making it a prime destination for three popular Japanese pastimes: hiking, skiing and hot springs. The southern expanse of the prefecture, which houses the bulk of the population and the capital Gifu, is largely rural.

  • Gifu — the eponymous capital of the prefecture
  • Hida — Famous for its festivals and the historical district around the Seto River
  • Mino
  • Tajimi
  • Takayama — the castle town of the beautiful northern Hida (飛騨) region, with an excellent museum and some well-preserved houses
View towards the Northern Japan Alps, near Shin-Hotaka
View towards the Northern Japan Alps, near Shin-Hotaka

Get in

By plane

The Meitetsu Line connects Gifu to Chubu Centrair International Airport up to 2 times per hour. The one-hour ride costs ¥1310.

By train

The JR Tokaido Main Line runs through Gifu on its way from Nagoya to Kyoto and Osaka. The Tokaido Shinkansen also makes a solitary stop at Hashima in the southern part of the prefecture.

From Tokyo Station, the best way to reach central Gifu is to take a Tokaido Shinkansen train (Nozomi or Hikari) to Nagoya, then change to a Tokaido Line local train for the run to Gifu. (2 1/4 hours total; ¥11190 via Nozomi, ¥10990 via Hikari).

The same connection can be made coming from Kyoto and Osaka in Kansai, and from other stations on the shinkansen network to the west.

Four shinkansen trains generally stop every hour, two in each direction, at the Gifu-Hashima station: the slow Kodama train which makes all stops on the shinkansen route between Osaka and Tokyo, and a Hikari which makes all stops between Osaka, Kyoto and Nagoya, then runs directly to Tokyo.

There is no charge to use the Hikari or Kodama trains with the Japan Rail Pass.

By car

The central Chūō Expressway, which largely follows the alignment of the Tokaido Line, also passes through southern Gifu.

Get around

By train

The JR Takayama Main Line (高山本線 Takayama-honsen) runs from Gifu across the length of the province, meandering through the scenic Hida Valley through Gero Onsen to Takayama, and beyond to Inotani in neighboring Toyama prefecture.


Gifu's best-known speciality is hōba miso (ほうば味噌), a version of the ubiquitous Japanese bean paste grilled on a hōba leaf and served as a dip or for eating with rice as is. Sounds pretty simple, but the taste is exquisite.

Gifu is located about as far from the sea as physically possible in Japan, so this is one place where seafood is not prized. Instead, Gifu is known for Hida beef, thickly marbled with fat and very expensive. Products grown in the surrounding mountains are also famous, particularly permissions, chestnuts and mushrooms. A popular souvenir is kurikinton (栗きんとん), a candy made by steaming and mashing chestnuts with sugar and reconstituting the mass into a chestnut shape.


There are a number of excellent small sake breweries in Gifu. Look out for the tiny Niki Shuzō (二木酒造; [2]) brewery's brands, including Tamanoi (玉の井) and Himuro (氷室).

This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


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