att.JAPAN Issue 61, Autumn/2012
Gujo Hachiman is a castle town in the mountains upstream of the Nagara River. Located in a small basin formed at the junction of four rivers, the town is famous for high-quality spring water, called Sogisui, with clear water springs everywhere around the town. The residents have been using the spring water in their daily life for laundry and you can see public washing places everywhere in the town.
Gujo Hachiman Castle on the top of the mountain is beautifully surrounded by red and yellow maple leaves in autumn and snow in winter. Enjoy the great view from the castle tower. The Yoshida River runs through the town and has great ayu (sweetfish) fishing.
At the base of Hachiman Castle are well-preserved old towns such as Yanagi-machi and Shokunin-machi. These towns, at the center of the Gujo Region since the 15th century, are cultural goldmines. There are many interesting spots to visit throughout the area including Gujo Hachiman Museum, Gujo Hachiman Kyuchosha Kinenkan (an old government memorial hall), Yanaka Mizu no Komichi alley, and Igawa Komichi alley.
The Gujo Odori in summer is a traditional bon odori dance that has been around for 400 years. People come and dance for about 30 nights from the second week in July to the first week in September every year. Join the local residents and enjoy dancing! You can see dance performances any time of the year at the Gujo Hachiman Museum. Gujo is also famous as the birthplace of the food replicas displayed in windows outside many restaurants, and produces the largest amount of replicas in Japan. There are hands-on tours of a replica food factory.
From Gifu Bus Terminal (about 5 min from JR Gifu Station): about 30 min by bus
Yanagaimachi Ichi no Hira, Hachimancho, Gujo-shi, Gifu Prefecture