Gifu And Ishikawa Are The Premiere Prefectures of Japan

Photo Credit: © Ishikawa Prefecture Tourism League

Overflowing with time-tested traditions, outdoor splendors, and the world’s most sought-after wellness practices, Japan is at the top of almost everyone’s bucket-list vacations. While many gravitate to the well-known cities like Tokyo and Kyoto, tucked away in Central Japan, yet still easily accessible from major cities, are the treasured under-the-radar Gifu prefecture and Ishikawa prefecture. Each prefecture is filled with distinctive natural wonders and one-of-a-kind cultural experiences.

In Gifu, travelers will find a prefecture overflowing with tradition, culture, and sustainability. Gifu’s idyllic countryside which offers a close look into the area’s natural beauty and local culture. Cycle along the Nagara River Basin and River, which was named one of the top 100 sustainable destinations by Green Destinations Foundation, and settle into SATOYAMA STAY where guests will learn firsthand the town’s history through customizable trips led by locals. For a deeper look into Gifu’s local culture visit Gero Hot Spring, considered one of Japan’s Three Best Onsens and whose “water of beauties” attracts visitors from around the world. As visitors stroll through the town in traditional garb, they can soak their feet in the hot spring, virtually accessible from anywhere in the village.


Next to see is Shirakawa-go Village, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, and known for its’ quaint thatched farmhouses which have been maintained by generations of villagers. In the winter, this picturesque village turns into something out of a Wes Anderson film as snow blankets the rooftops and lights illuminate the houses to resembling a snow globe. Nearby Takayama transports visitors to Old Japan as the neighborhood’s exteriors and façades are still in Edo-period style. Thirsty visitors will find some of Japan’s most distinctive sake breweries – such as Sugihara Brewery, Japan’s smallest brewery and run by a father-son duo.

Gero Hot Spring

Head further south to Ishikawa Prefecture by driving the picturesque Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road which call those looking for outdoor wonders paired with soothing relaxation. This 20-mile scenic road truly comes alive during the fall as the surrounding lush forestry and foliage that turn a deep brown and red, providing a fairy-tale like backdrop. First wind through Hakusan National Park and take in stunning waterfalls while relaxing in the healing waters of Oyadani no Yu onsen. Spectacles like Mt. Hakusan, a volcano that has been a focus of local esoteric religious practice for centuries, and Fukube Falls, a series of impressive waterfalls which cascade from 282 feet, further await those lusting for more.

In Ishikawa, travelers have the best of both worlds. Get lost in the glimmering ocean or atop some of Japan’s most breathtaking snowy mountains. In Ishikawa’s Noto Peninsula, Japan’s first official World Agricultural Heritage site, travelers will find themselves gazing out into the majestic Sea of Japan from the vast Shiroyone Senmaida Rice Terraces or on any of Ishikawa’s sea cliffsides. Perhaps the most stunning part of the Peninsula is the Noto Kongo Coast, an eighteen-mile stretch of ruggedly beautiful coastline filled with steep cliffs, sea caves, and capes.

Photo Credit: © Ishikawa Prefecture Tourism League

Equally beautiful is Kakusenkei Gorge, which is home to Sakura Park, filled with breathtaking cherry blossom trees, and Kurotani Bridge which comes alive as the surrounding trees create an awe-inspiring autumn backdrop. The outdoor wonders continue into the Kaga Onsen, where travelers have their choice of four hot spring villages and luxury ryokans like Beniya Mukayu, a part of the esteemed Ryokan Collections.

In Gifu and Ishikawa, travelers will find some of Japan’s most under-the-radar-yet treasured traditions. There, boundless adventure and spectacular wonders await. With open arms and unparalleled omotenashi (hospitality), Gifu and Ishikawa are ready to welcome travelers who yearn for exploration and long-haul destinations once again.

Beniya Mukayu