Selection:Nature / Activity
Model Route:Nature in the Chubu Region: Enjoy Activities! Enjoy Rare Experiences Unique to Chubu.

Japan is abundant with nature and spectacular scenery in all four seasons. Among them, the Chubu area, where you can sense the original scenery of Japan, is an area should be visited at least once if you wish to feel nostalgia and the atmosphere of Japan. In this article, a 4-day/3-night recommended course will be introduced to allow you to fully enjoy the nature and activities in the Gifu and Aichi prefectures. I have actually visited and experienced the areas, and will introduce the charm of each spot! So please find it and use this ariticle as a reference for your future trips to Japan!

  • Sakushima Island

    Where do you think are the most Instagrammable spots in the Aichi Prefecture? That's right, if you want to take photos to post on social media, then by all means head to Sakushima Island in Nishio City! To get to Sakushima Island, take a train from Nagoya Station to Nishio Station, then transfer to a bus and then take a ferry from Isshiki Port, which will get you there in around 20 minutes. Called the island of healing and art, Sakushima Island not only has beautiful nature, but also artwork created by various artists dotted around the island, waiting for travellers to stop by.

    Particularly famous is the piece of art called "Ohirune House" situated on the beach. With the ocean right in front of me, it was so relaxing to watch the sunset from the house while listening to the sound of the waves from the sea breeze. The "Seagull Parking Lot" is a piece of art that creates a visual of the invisible shape of the wind through the direction of the seagulls. It is also a viral topic on social media! Sakushima is a remote island with a population of 252 people, and the islanders live a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle. We only spent half a day on the island, but I was extremely envious of the relaxing time they spend there! If you just would like to do a half-day tour of the island, be aware of the boat times, or your half-day tour could turn into a full day and two nights if you are not careful!

  • Gamagori Orange Park

    Gamagori mandarin oranges are a local specialty of Gamagori in Aichi Prefecture. The Gamagori Orange Park is a place where fruit picking can be enjoyed year round. Gamagori oranges can be picked from October to December, strawberries from January to early May, and melons from late May to late September. There are also grapes from mid-June to mid-September. The picked fruits can be eaten there and then, and the peels of the oranges can be left under the trees, which will apparently become natural fertilizer. Not only can the oranges be eaten there, but a kilo of oranges can also be taken home as a souvenir. When picking the oranges, hold the oranges lightly and if you rotate them they’ll come off, so don't pull them down too hard!

  • Toyokawa Inari

    The next stop was a temple called Toyokawa Inari in Toyokawa, Aichi Prefecture, which is famous as one of the three largest Inari shrines in Japan. Approximately 5 million people visit the shrine annually. There are many things to see in the spacious shrine precincts, but one of the most spectacular was the Reikozuka, a collection of more than 1,000 fox statues lined up. In Japan, the fox is said to be an animal of good luck, so going to meet one will bring you a lot of good luck.

    The shrine approach leading to the Reikozuka. The sprawling spiritual world is breathtaking! Guided by the divinity, I wrote a prayer for my health on an ema tablet. May the wish come true!

  • Asuke Townscape (Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings)

    If you like old Japanese streets, you should definitely take a stroll through the Asuke Traditional Buildings Preservation District. Asuke is located in the city of Toyota, and its charming streets still retain the atmosphere of the early Edo period.

    Strolling through the streets of Asuke, which has been selected as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings, feels like stepping back in time. Also, if you wear a kimono and eat Gohei Mochi (a local food consisting of rice cakes and mashed rice that have been skewered and baked with miso sauce) as you stroll around, you are sure to feel like you are in a historical play! The alleyways of Asuke Town have a traditional and elegant Japanese atmosphere, and the alley "Manrin Komichi" to the side of the bookstore Manrin Shoten was particularly beautiful! Additionally, speaking of Asuke, isn't "Korankei" known as a sightseeing attraction? The beautiful scenery of the four seasons can be enjoyed year round, but lots of tourists who visit are taken in by the picturesque world of the autumn leaves season when the leaves of the plants turn red, orange, and yellow.

  • Obara Four Seasons Cherry Blossoms

    When it comes to activities in Japan where the spectacular scenery of the four seasons can be enjoyed, cherry blossom viewing in the spring and autumn leaves viewing in the autumn are the most popular. There is a spot in the city of Toyota where both cherry blossom viewing and autumn foliage viewing can be enjoyed at the same time. This spot is the town of Obara. This was one of the most impressive spots that we visited this time. The special variety of cherry blossoms here, called Shikizakura, bloom twice a year, once in spring and once in autumn and winter. They also bloom during the autumn leaves season from the end of November to the beginning of December every year, so if you time your trip right, you can enjoy the rare sight of both cherry blossoms and autumn leaves at the same time! The white and pink cherry blossoms you see in the cold air have a completely different atmosphere from those that you see in the warm spring season. With the autumn leaves in the background, the cherry blossoms look as beautiful as snow falling on the autumn leaves. I never thought I would be able to see autumn leaves and cherry blossoms together, which can only be seen in Japan with its four seasons! On social media, this was a spot that had been a viral topic and the photos made many people wish to go, so I was very happy to actually be here. Surrounded by beautiful nature, it was a moment that filled me with "happiness"! If you are planning a trip, try to go during the autumn season when the Shikizakura cherry blossoms are in bloom.

  • Nakasendo Magome-Juku

    Magome-juku on the Nakasendo Highway in the Gifu Prefecture is a charming place with old streets that retain the atmosphere of Edo. It is a place where you can get away from your usual life, listen to the murmuring of the water and the tweeting of birds, and leisurely admire the old-fashioned buildings. The scenery is picturesque when photographed on a sunny day, and on the day we went to gather materials, we were blessed with beautiful weather, which made it easy to take photogenic pictures.

    Having tea at a retro cafe or shopping at a roadside souvenir shop is recommended!

  • Naegi Castle Ruins

    On the third day, we started from the ruins of Naegi Castle in Nakatsugawa, Gifu Prefecture, a popular photo spot. The stone walls of Naegi Castle are said to be rare in Japan. They are made up of huge natural rocks. The stone walls, which are constructed in different ways depending on the age, are another highlight. The view from the observatory situated up on the ruins of the castle tower was also spectacular, with a grand view of the mountains and the city in front of you, and a splendid 360-degree view everywhere you looked. This is a wonderful spot not only for castle lovers, but also for people who like magnificent views!

  • Osaka Waterfall Tour

    If you come to Gifu, you should definitely go on a tour of the over than 200 waterfalls that can be found in Gero’s town of Osaka. Many of the waterfalls in this valley were created by the eruption of Mount Ontake! Each waterfall is unique, some are extremely powerful with a lot of water, some have two or three tiers, and some are so beautiful with a thin water flow that looks like white thread! There are a variety of waterfall tours, and those who are confident in their physical strength can challenge the harder courses, while those who want to enjoy a casual tour can choose the easier courses. When I actually tried trekking, I felt that it was less strenuous than I had imagined, since the great nature of Osaka can be enjoyed to the fullest and I could gaze at the surrounding scenery, so I was able to enjoy it. Also, the sound of the constantly falling water from the waterfalls was like a concerto performed by nature! Let's take a waterfall tour, breathe in the negative ions of nature, and refresh ourselves!

  • Stay the Night at Gero Hot Spring

    Gero Hot Spring is a place where the liveliness of a hot spring town and the atmosphere of a mountain village are in harmony.Gero Hot Spring is one of the three most famous hot springs in Japan, and has been visited by tourists from Japan and abroad since long ago for its superb quality of water, which makes the skin smooth and healthy. On this day, we stayed at Suimeikan, a high-class Ryokan where three large baths can be experienced. The thought of experiencing hot spring baths while admiring the picturesque scenery was super exciting!

    We stayed in a Japanese-style tatami room. Here we could relax, drink Japanese tea, and enjoy a relaxing time. The course with Japanese food is highly recommended, as the food is luxurious and a variety of dishes made using ingredients from Gifu Prefecture can be enjoyed, including Hida beef, a brand of Japanese beef.

  • Ride Around Gujo Hachiman on an Electric Bike.

    On the fourth day, we strolled through the town of Gujo Hachiman. The streets of Gujo Hachiman in Gujo, Gifu Prefecture remind us of the days of Bushi and Samurai. The streets and houses of the Edo period have been preserved as they were back in the day, so it is as though you have entered the world of a historical drama. Incidentally, this town, which once flourished as a castle town, is densely populated with houses and many small streets, so sightseeing by electric bike was most convenient.

    If you take this tour, you can visit not only the town, but also Gujo Hachiman Castle, the oldest reconstructed wooden castle in Japan. Additionally, if you' would like to have a kimono experience, going around on foot is the best way to get around! Wearing a kimono and strolling through a castle and historic streets is something that every traveller in Japan would love to do at least once, and Gujo Hachiman is a place where that dream can come true. Please make sure to take photos with Gujo Hachiman in the background and upload them to social media sites.

    Gujo Hachiman is also known for the Gujo Odori dance. Gujo Odori is a summer event in Gujo Hachiman with a history of over 400 years, and is one of the three major Bon dances in Japan, It is also designated as a national important intangible folk cultural property. Men and women of all ages dance until dawn, making it a summer tradition unique to this region.

  • The Nameless Pond, as Beautiful as a Painting: Monet's Pond.

    The "Nameless Pond" in Seki, Gifu Prefecture, has beautiful water lilies blooming in the clear water, and the sight of the elegantly swimming Nishikigoi carp in the pond resembles Monet's masterpiece "Water Lilies," which is why it is nicknamed "Monet's Pond. In fact, it is extremely dramatic to see the vivid red and white coloured koi swimming in the greenish emerald pond! This is a spot that has become very popular in recent years. Be sure not to miss it!

  • Stroll through the streets of Udatsu & learn the history of Mino Washi.

    “Udatsu Townscape" in Mino, Gifu Prefecture, is designated as an Important Preservation District for Traditional Buildings. The main feature of this townscape is the Udatsu, a firewall built to prevent fires by raising both ends of the roof one level higher using plaster walls and tiles. Only wealthy families were allowed to build Udatsu, which brought about such Japanese phrases as "udatsu wo ageru" (meaning: to raise one's lifestyle and status). The area is lined with unique buildings, so it is recommended to walk around and compare the different buildings.

    In the Mino Washi Akari Art Museum, where people can learn about the 1,300-year-old tradition of Mino Washi paper, about 500 to 600 pieces of art made from Mino Washi are exhibited, and you can see what everyone from amateurs to professionals has made. The Mino Washi itself is a traditional skill of this region that has been passed down through generations from ancient times, but the impression of it changes completely after viewing the light art of modern design! Looking at the works here, I could sense the Japanese way of preserving traditional techniques while applying and utilizing them in a modern and fashionable way. If you visit Mino, why not immerse yourself in the magical world created by light and Japanese Washi paper?

  • Head home via Chubu Centrair International Airport.

    The airport has a restaurant district where you can enjoy the regional flavours unique to Nagoya, “A Flight of Dreams” where you can see the first Boeing 787 aircraft up close and enjoy shopping for Boeing related merchandise, as well as an observation deck where a panoramic view of the airport can be enjoyed. A real plane seen from the front is especially breathtaking! There are also Japanese restaurants and duty-free shops with great deals, so be sure to stop by before your flight.

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