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Gujō Hachiman 郡上八幡

View of Gujō Hachiman (© oben901 - Fotolia.com)
View of Gujō Hachiman

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Gujō Hachiman is a small town in central Gifu prefecture, at the confluent of the upper Nagara-gawa river and Yoshida-gawa river.

The town is famous for its castle, originally built in 1559 and reconstructed in 1933, for its well-preserved traditional architecture, and for its Gujo Odori Folk Dances, held each summer from early July to early September, with the main festival taking place between 13 and 16 August.

But Gujō Hachiman has much more than that to offer. In the words of Alan Booth in his book Looking for the lost (p. 327):

"...what there is to see here is what almost every Westerner who comes to Japan in the first flush of oriental infatuation thinks he will find at every turn and grows bitter over when he realizes he won't. It is a town of low, dark, wood-and-plaster buildings, paved lanes, and running water. The windows of the buildings are narrow and slatted. The lanes, too, are narrow, steeply walled, and end in dimly lanterned eating places or in small stone bridges that arch over splashing streams. It was like an Edo-era stage set, the sort they show visitors at the Toei studios...".

Nagara River, Gujo Hachiman
Gujo Hachiman Castle
Streets of Gujo Hachiman

How to get there

Gujo Hachiman is about 2 hours 15 minutes from Nagoya (¥2,310). Take the JR Hida line and change to the Nagara-gawa Railway at Mino-Ota. Coming from Gifu, you should take the JR Takayama Main line till Mino-Ota.

The nearest airport is Nagoya.

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