Gifu Prefecture can be found right in the heart of Japan, and it has played an important role throughout Japanese history due to its geographical location. During the Sengoku Period or the ‘Age of Warring States’, a number of people referred to the Prefecture simply by saying, ‘Control Gifu and you control Japan’. The city of Seki was also important, as it was known for producing the best swords in all of Japan.
Today, you can still see the skill that these swords possessed in the Seki Traditional Swordsmith Museum. This museum is dedicated to the craftsmanship that goes into each sword, and the history that comes with it. You can even watch a live demonstration of traditional Japanese sword forging, a style of forging that has been passed down throughout the centuries.
Geographically, most of the borders that surround Gifu consist of mountain ranges, including a section of the Japanese alps. The area is also entirely landlocked, meaning that it does not border a body of water. This can mean that the temperatures in Gifu are rather hard to cope with, as there is no sea breeze to cool the air.
If you would like to see the rural side of Gifu Prefecture, then you should make plans to go to Shirakawa-go. The area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it is famous for the appearance of the villages within it. They consist of traditional Gassho-zukuri houses. These houses feature traditional thatch roofs that have to be strong enough to withstand the large amounts of snow that come with the colder months of the year.
It is easy for us to see why so many travellers visit Gifu Prefecture on a yearly basis. It is set surrounded by mountains, it has a rich history, and there are plenty of activities for you to participate in. Not to mention, who would not want to travel to the area in Japan that holds the record for having the most open air hot springs?