Getting active in Gifu, Japan

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With the spotlight firmly on Japan during the Tokyo 2020 Olympics as the world’s greatest athletes take centre stage, we’re inspired to explore Japan and the active adventures on offer in Gifu Prefecture.

Home to the North Japanese Alps, hundreds of waterways, and some of the most stunning hiking trails across all of Japan, Gifu offers active travellers plenty of ways to burn off some pent-up energy.  So whether it’s hiking one of Japan’s tallest mountains; taking on one of the highest bungy jumping experiences in Asia or navigating a series of stunning waterfalls and climbing trails, travellers can feel the active ‘burn’ across Gifu Prefecture. 

Hike Mt Norikura, North Japanese Alps 

Mt Norikura is the collective name of the 23 mountains that make up a portion of the North Japanese Alps in Gifu Prefecture.  The highest peak – Kengamine – sits at a whopping 3,026 metres above sea level.  Avid hikers can make the full climb from the base of the range, but in actuality, the Kengamine can be reached easily from the highest road in Japan – the Norikura Skyline.  The hike from the Tatamidaira, at the end of the Norikura Skyline, only takes about 1.5 hours, but the views are well worth the effort.  The area is particularly famous for its Autumn hues, with travellers from all over Japan flocking to the region between September to November to watch the changing colours, and catch a glimpse of some of the regions numerous blooms.   

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Traverse Hida Osaka Falls, Gero City 

Located at the foot of live volcano, Mt. Ontake, is Osaka-cho, a ‘Forest of Water’ that forms part of Gero City.  This dense forest area is famed for being the town with the most waterfalls in Japan – and it doesn’t take long to figure out why.  Home to 216 waterfalls, all stretching over 5 metres tall, the area makes you feel like you’ve stepped into a fantasy novel.  There are 14 hiking trails to take you deep into the lush forest, over half of which are considered advanced and require the hiring of a guide to traverse.  But for those looking for an easier trek, there are still options that can be done independently.  And best of all, Hida Osaka Falls sits just outside Gero City – one of Japan’s 3 most famous Onsen areas – so there’s plenty of places to rest your weary feet after a day of hiking adventures.   

Explore the mystical forests of Goshikighara, Chūbu Sangaku National Park  

Goshikigahara Forest lays at the foot of Mt. Norikura and covers an expansive 3,000 hectares of the Chūbu Sangaku National Park’s southernmost edge.  The forest is home to a diverse ecosystem with enormous waterfalls, ravines, clear rivers, ponds, and even wetlands. In order to preserve the precious environments of the forest, visitors must be accompanied by an official guide, and tours are offered from mid-May through the end of October annually.  Three walking courses serve up 8-hour hikes, including the Kamoshika (antelope) course that connects seven waterfalls, the Shirabiso (silver fir tree) course that meanders a landscape of water and mossy rocks, and the Gosuwara (lava plateau) course that traverses the primeval forest.

Bungy Japan,Tabisoko Gawa Valley  

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Ready for the ultimate adrenalin fix?  Gifu is now the home of a Japan’s highest bridge Bungy jumping experience. Jump from Shintabisoko bashi, the largest bridge in Japan, and plunge 215 metres into the breath-taking (pun intended) valley waters below.  Visitors brave enough to give it a go should hire the GoPro service available on site. After all, this is a memory (or bragging rights) you want to have documented for any non-believers.  Gifu Bungy is located between the mountains of Tabisoko Gawa Valley, with easy access from nearby cities including Gifu City, Seki, Minokamo, and Nagoya. 

Hike the Nakasendo HighwaySouthern Gifu  

For the perfect way to combine an adrenalin charged multi-day hike or cycling expedition with striking natural beauty and rich tradition, look no further than the Nakasendo Highway.  Traversing the South of Gifu Prefecture, this ancient cobblestone highway once connected Kyoto with Tokyo (then Edo).  Today, active adventurers can take a multi-day hiking or cycling tour along the route to explore the many temples, shrines, gorges, and picturesque post towns that abound along the route, and learn more about the medieval history and tradition that still thrives in this historic region. 


More information: Visit Gifu

About the author: Fiona Harper is a Queensland-based travel writer – follow Fiona at Travel Boating Lifestyle

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