The Gifu Prefecture is a region in the central Chubu region of Honshu, a main island of Japan. Its capital, Gifu City, is located almost in the center of Japan: about two hundred and fifty kms. west of Tokyo, about hundred and forty kms. east of Osaka and about thirty kms. North of@Nagoya. Due to the location, the Gifu Prefecture is a self-proclaimed "Heart of Japan".
There is much to be said about Gifu City and its historic attractions, though probably the major thing that makes the city stand out among the others is its sweeping appearance, created by a combination of the Mount Kinka, Plum Garden, cherry trees and parks. Both day and night sights of the capital seduce even the most hard-hearted observer. The Mount Kinka is situated at the heart of the city, rising to three hundred and twenty nine meters above the sea level and the Gifu Castle crowns its summit. From the mountain you can enjoy an enchanting panorama of distant peaks of the Mount Ontake, the Mount Norikura and the Japan Alps. The natural environment of the mountain is home to sixty species of birds, including varied tits, great tits and Japanese white-eyes.
The Gifu Park, extending from the lower slopes of the Mount Kinka, is a fine place to take a stroll and learn more about the local history and culture, revealed through the exhibitions of art galleries and museums, and as a surprise about insect species, counted in eighteen thousand in the Insect Museum of the park's leisure area.
The Gifu Plum Garden is an entirely stunning sight. With thirteen hundred trees of fifty species, it starts blooming in January and continuously flourishes until the end of March. Seven hundred trees are in white blossom and six hundred are in red-tinted. The Garden also features a display of steam locomotives and a large lawn, popular among the Gifu inhabitants as a family picnic area.
The end of March and early April are also the months, when cherry trees all around Gifu are in their full bloom. Approximately a thousand of cherry trees begin to bloom along two Gifu rivers, the Nagaragawa and Shimizugawa.
Perhaps, the natural beauty of Gifu inspires its inhabitants to create traditional Japanese beauty by hand. A handcrafting spirit has been cultivated in generations of locals, who now make modern art masterpieces, maintaining the practice of skills, passed on through the centuries. Gifu handcraft products are warmed with a human touch and care and breathe natural elegance and sensibility. One of the traditional handcraft of Gifu is lantern making, practiced since the mid-eighteen century and recognized as unique to Gifu throughout Japan. Gifu paper umbrellas have been crafted since 1639 and today their production is a special local industry, found nowhere else. Gifu uchiwa (flat fan) have been produced since the late 19th century, while today more and more people are using Gifu uchiva to decorate their homes. The value of all products as objects of art gains the recognition all around the country.
Finally, if nothing is mentioned about the beauty of Gifu at night, nothing is said about the city. The city with an aura of sparkling lights is of night rarest beauty that attracts many people from far away only to look out over the city at night. The views are especially captivating from the observatory of the Gifu Castle, the Mount Kinka. The day and night charm of Gifu makes the city an ultimate romantic spot for couples in love.