Places to Go
Central Japan: A Winter Playground

Central Japan: A Winter Playground

Added In: Places to Go › Tourist spots

Ken Matheson

Looking for places to go in the winter in the Chubu area? Here are a few ideas! Or download our map here with the following text included.

Shirakawa go
Shirakawa go is one of the great examples of Gassho zukuri (thatched roof housing) in Japan. A World Heritage Site, many of the houses are still lived in today and the village operates somewhat as a living museum.

Magome is an example of one of the “Post Towns” that were established to afford shelter to travelers along Japans main thoroughfares. Streets are arranged in a hook shape, in order that attackers could not have easy access. Today Magome is preserved as an example of Edo period architecture.

Perhaps the most famous hot-spring resort in the area. Gero has a large number of hot springs and hotels catering to the bathing crowd. The water here is described as “silky” and leaves one feeling well relaxed after a long soak. Perhaps best bathing option is a ticket called Yumeguri Tegata. This ticket allows you to drop in to any three of 29 participating spas in Gero. If you cant make it to Shirakawa village itself, then another option is Gero Spa Gassho mura. This is a collection of 10 gassho style houses transferred from Shirakawa go to Gero. At the nearby Mingei no Sato a variety of experiences are available, including traditional ceramics and paper making.

Zenshou-ji Temple (Gero)
A temple of the Rinzai sect founded in the Heian period. Famous for its calligraphy collection, it is also home to a massive Japanese cedar that is designated as a national natural treasure.

Mugekawa Hot Springs
Not far from the Mino Interchange on the Tokai Hokuriku Expressway is Mugekawa Hot Springs. If you are in the area perfect for a soak on a cold winters day!

Usuzumi Hot Spring
From either Gifu Hachiman or Ogaki interchange on the Meishin expressway, around 1 hour by car is Usuzumi. This is a larger complex of baths, encompassed by the Sakura Kouryu land.

Okute juku
Somewhat smaller than Magome, but then not as heavily visited is the post town of Okute. On the same route as Magome, it preserves the post town atmosphere. About 20 minutes from Kamado.

Hida no sato (Takayama city)
At Hida no Sato various houses from the Hida area have been collected for display. Houses range from massive gassho constructions through to the simplest of woodcutters huts.

Sanmachi (east side of Miya river, Takayama city)
This is the old par of Takayama city, world renowned for the preservation of the Edo period houses. Many houses still function as both a residence and a business. A great area to take a stroll and soak up the atmosphere, as well as try a bit of local sake or stop in somewhere for a bite to eat.

Takayama Jinya (Takayama city)
This used to be a government house during the Edo period, and used as a second home by the owners of the Takayama Castel. The site is large, covering almost 1 hectare.

Imao no sagicho festival (Kaizu city)
This is one of the biggest fire festivals in Japan. A huge mikoshi (portable shrine) weighing over 2 tons is burnt during the festival. Festival is held over the New Year period. If you come to Kaizu, pay a visit also to the Ochobo Inari shrine. This is one of the top 3 Inari shrines in Japan, and is dedicated to the God of Commerce.

Download the map here.