Although Japan is home to roughly 125 million people, you may be surprised to learn that two-thirds of the country is covered in rugged mountains. Here, nature is as diverse as the country’s cuisine and culture. Nowhere is this natural beauty better exemplified than in the Hida region. Recognized as both a UNESCO World Heritage site and a symbol of supreme Japanese efficiency with its train network, Hida offers you a host of reasons to get up high and look out. Admire Japan from above, and check out the below lookout spots in Hida and beyond!
Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck
Previously located along the Sho River, Ogimachi Castle was one of a series of hilltop forts built to protect warlord Uchigashima’s family from rivals. Today, in its place, sits an observation deck that overlooks one of Gifu Prefecture and Japan’s most famous sites—Shirakawa-go. This scenic spot is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to a number of well-preserved gassho-zukuri farmhouses. These farmhouses are characterized by their iconic thatched roofs, which were designed to protect the homes from heavy snowfall. Up close, admire the mastery of traditional joinery techniques, and from the observation deck, enjoy all encompassing views of the houses encircled by rural countryside.
Several places around Hida-Furukawa Station inspired actual scenes in the 2016 anime film, Your Name, or Kimi no Na wa, and one of the most noteworthy spots is the walking overpass at the station. This observation spot is not only a popular place in the Hida area, but also one of the most notable spots for anime fans around the world. Even for the casual observer, the overpass offers a picturesque snapshot of Japan’s railways against the quaint village townscape.
Hida-Furukawa Station was opened in October 1934 and serves as a stop on the JR Takayama Main Line, which connects Gifu City to the south with Toyama Prefecture to the north.
It is the main...
From Mount Anbou’s summit, witness majestic panoramas of Hida’s mountainous landscape blanketed in ethereal fog. Typically, you can only view this natural wonder on windless days in autumn from 5am to 10am. If you time your visit right, you will be rewarded with a rare glimpse of Japan’s natural beauty.
Surrounded by mountains, Hida Furukawa is one of the most perfect spots in Japan to experience the majestic natural occurrence of morning fog, or asagiri, in autumn. With a hike to the top of the c...
Nestled in the mountains of Gifu’s Miyagawacho area, Tanekura village epitomizes authentic countryside life with its centuries-old warehouses and homes. Here, seasons dictate the hues of the trees, flowers, and rice fields. The vibrant green of early-season rice paddies gradually transition into gold, and following the harvest, autumn leaves paint the mountains red, orange, and yellow. This nature-encircled village is the perfect place to overlook rural Japan.
Tanekura in Miyagawacho
In the wilds of Gifu, in the Miyagawacho district, tucked away in the rugged mountains is the small town of Tanekura.
Famous for its itakura warehouses where traditionally, food was stored for v...
On its ascent up the Hotaka Mountain Range, the Shin-Hotaka Ropeway rises over 1,000 meters, which is one of the largest elevation gains in Japan. The ropeway’s first stop, called Nabedaira Kogen, is located at 200 meters and is also accessible via car. Here, you will find a number of facilities and attractions including a gift shop, restaurants, and a public bath. After this stop, the double-storey ropeway ascends another 800 meters. At the top, along with another gift shop and restaurant, is a large observation deck where you can take in impressive sights of the surrounding mountains and valleys. When there is no snow, this area is also the starting point for numerous hiking trails. Some of these trails are considered advanced, so please research the hikes ahead of time to ensure that you are adequately prepared.
Takayama Sky Park
Takayama Sky Park, located relatively close to Takayama Station, features a lovely green area with sweeping panoramas. During spring, witness the white peaks of the Northern Alps with the cityscape of Takayama in the foreground. For those who explored the quaint streets of Takayama’s Sanmachi Historic District, the Sky Park offers a different perspective of the city. With the impressive landscape before you, you will gain a greater understanding of how the naturescape influenced the city’s culture. Given the isolating geography, Takayama remained secluded for centuries and developed its own distinct culture.
Ikegahara Wetland, located in the Okuhida Sugo Nagareha Prefectural Park, is a distinctive ecosystem filled with seasonal beauty from spring to autumn—the park is closed in winter due to snow-covered roads. There are two ways to reach the wetlands from the road—a 30-minute boardwalk and a one-hour hike. The most popular time to visit is in spring when the white Mizubasho and yellow Ryuukinka are in full bloom. However, summer and autumn also offer equally captivating views of the area’s alluring nature.
Ikegahara Wetland is an expansive marsh located in Okuhida Sugo Nagareha Prefectural Park and is designated as a natural monument of the Gifu Prefecture. This unique ecosystem shines with natural b...
The Furukawa Festival Exhibition Hall is a must-see for any visit to Hida Furukawa and offers perhaps the best chance to get to know what Hida is about.
The Furukawa Festival, which heralds the arrival of spring, is Hida’s biggest annual festival held every April 19th–20th and is a...
Hiking Mount Anbou
If you’re staying in the Hida area for a couple of days, a hike up to the top of Mount Anbou is well recommended. Suitable for hikers of all levels, the summit can be reached in about 1–1.5 hours and is a fairly leisurely climb, with plenty of nature to admire along the way.