Words and Photography: Kazuya Baba

This time around, we’ll be shining a light on a place largely unfamiliar to our fan base—Gifu. Readers will most likely associate regions we have covered, such as Hokkaido, Nagano, and Niigata, as renowned snow destinations in Japan. However, residents of Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, and other areas of western Japan are likely to have deep connections with Gifu when it comes to snow. Gifu is situated next to Nagano prefecture in a deep inland mountainous area. While its location makes for excellent snow, it remains fairly unknown to international visitors due to the lack of outward marketing as the place to go for snow. This makes it a hidden gem just waiting to be uncovered.

Closing photo gallery

I will be telling you all about the wonders of Gifu through this closing feature alongside the collection of photos I took on my visit there during the 2020 season. The photos were taken while I was based in three locations: Gujo Hachiman, which is a mere stone’s throw away from Nagoya (the third largest city in Japan after Tokyo and Osaka); Hida Takayama, which is a popular tourist destination where old townscapes of Japan can be seen; and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa-go.

Gujo Hachiman

A waterside town at the base of a mountain. Home of the famous Gujo Odori

A historical Japanese townscape filled with old and wonderful charms. 
Gujo is a riverside town known for its pure and beautiful water.
The retro-feel of the redroofed sakaya (Japanese liquor shop) wonderfully oozes with history.

Gujo Hachiman Castle looks beautiful in snowy winters as well.
Gujo is known for its Gujo Odori, a muchloved dance with over 400 years of history. The custom of dancing on end throughout the town can be seen from July to September.

Hida Takayama

Streets filled with Edo-period history and culture; mountains bursting with snow activities

Takayama Jinya is the only surviving government headquarters from the Edo period. Head over in the morning to stroll through the markets held at the plaza in front of the gate there every day.
Endless hours can be spent simply strolling around the old streets and visiting the shops here. 
Takayama is also famous for its ramen and “Takayama-style” ramen is known across Japan. This particular ramen is from Mametengu, a long-established popular ramen restaurant. This is a must-visit restaurant for ramen lovers.
One of the big three morning markets in Japan—Miyagawa Morning Market. Well worth rising early for a visit.
Honokidaira Ski Resort is located approximately 40-minutes away from Takayama. This undiscovered gem offers the best powder snow experience in all of Gifu owing to its high altitude.


Thatchedroof houses: a typical building technique in snowy regions
Beautiful winter wonderlands in this World Heritage Site

The night-view of Shirakawa-go from the observation deck.
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