Cherry blossom trees can be found almost anywhere you go in Japan, yet each location has its own unique beauty. The sakura (cherry blossoms) in Hida Furukawa, Gifu Prefecture, are no exception. Tucked between the mountains of Gifu, far away from the urban centers of Japan, this small town is host to big beauty. I recently had the opportunity to visit various cherry blossom spots around the town and discovered some favorites that I am sure you will love as well.
Mount Anbou is an easily accessed mountain just outside of the Hida Furukawa area. At 1058 meters (3471 feet), the views from the summit are stunning in all directions; but in spring, you can also find yamazakura (wild mountain cherry blossoms) along the hiking trail. Since these are wild, you won’t find them in abundance and the flowers are considerably sparser than the more popular somei yoshino variety. Nevertheless, they are lovely and offer a sight that many visitors to Japan will never see.
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...
Hida Furukawa’s Seto Canal district is a stunning area to explore any time of year. The koi-filled stream and old Japanese-style buildings are enough to keep your attention for hours. In spring, this area boasts beautiful shidarezakura—weeping cherry blossom trees. These trees have a more vibrant pink color than the normal variety, and as the name implies, they hang down from the tree in colorful strands (shidare means “to droop/hang down” in Japanese). Although there aren’t official nighttime illuminations here, the lanterns that line the canal provide pleasant views into the night as well.
Shirakabe Dozogai Street
Hida Furukawa's Shirakabe Dozogai Street is a charming and non-commercial heritage site which reflects, perfectly, the culture and history of the area.
The Seto Canal runs through it an...
The Araki River is a relatively small river that flows from the mountains outside of Hida Furukawa into the city where it eventually meets up with the Miyagawa River. Just before it connects to the Miyagawa, there is a section of the Araki that is lined on both sides with cherry blossom trees. The trees create a canopy over the walking path beside the river, making for an enjoyable stroll during the blooming season. Because the Araki is a smaller river, this section also offers unique views when the blossoms begin to fall.
As the flowers blow from the trees, the water is filled with freshly fallen petals, creating a blanket of pink that can be enjoyed from the nearby bridge. Quiet and relaxing, this is the perfect spot to enjoy on a cool day!
Miyagawa River Sakura
I think it’s safe to say that the cherry blossoms along the Miyagawa River are the main show in Hida Furukawa. Huge cherry blossom trees line the walking path along the river, making for beautiful scenery from every angle. Walking along the path offers the traditional view of the blossoms draping from their branches overhead. If you head down the banks toward the river, you can find amazing views looking back at the blossoms from below and might even find other spring flowers blooming here and there. On the town-side of the river walk, rice paddies filled with water offer crystal-clear reflections of the blossoms. At night, illuminations light up the blossoms, making for incredible scenery, especially at twilight. In other locations, this path would be absolutely packed with people. But Hida Furukawa is the perfect place to enjoy these amazing views without the crowds.
Every year, to the north of the main Hida Furukawa area, Miyagawa River’s banks bloom with dozens of cherry blossom trees. Visitors and locals alike flock to the tree-lined paths along the wa...
If you are looking for a good place to see the cherry blossoms, Hida Furukawa has you covered. In addition to so many unique locations, the blossoms bloom later than those in places like Tokyo; so even if you want to see the sakura in other places, there may still be time to enjoy them in Hida Furukawa as well. These four locations certainly aren’t the only places to visit but they come highly recommended for springtime.
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.
Four Ways To Enjoy Local Herbal Cuisine in Hida Furukawa
As exciting as it is to take in the unique sights and sounds of Japan, no travel experience is complete without also experiencing local cuisine. Japan is famous for dishes like sushi and noodles, but these are standard culinary affairs, especially around popular travel destinations. Food is perha...