The peak cherry blossom time in Gujo Hachiman is about a week to ten days after places further south and west e.g. Kyoto and even Nagoya. This means you can can enjoy the cherry blossoms for an extended period.
Spring is when the weather turns warm, and the cherry blossoms begin to bloom throughout the town. The pace is relaxed, and yet there is excitement as the warm weather returns and the sherry trees bloom throughout the town.
Winter snow is replaced by delicate and beautiful cherry blossoms.
Overnight guests should not miss the nightly cherry blossom light up in Atago Park. It's a short walk from many of the central ryokans, minshukus and guest houses. The short evening walk is well worth it.
Night "hanami" is a popular pastime in the Spring be sure to take advantage of the opportunity in Gujo Hachiman where the crowds are significantly less than in larger urban centres.
The local Spring Festival is held in April. This year the parades will wind their way through the town on Saturday 20th April and Sunday 21st April. Parades from three shrines wind their way through the narrow streets for two days. Many children take lead roles in the parade - especially to demonstrate their bravery and taunt the dragon.
2024 will again see a return to a full Gujo Odori dance schedule, 30 nights of festive dancing, rain or shine. And of course 2024 will also see a full return to all night "testusya odori" dancing at Obon on August 13, 14, 15 and 16! Be sure to plan ahead as accommodation can be difficult to find on dancing days, especially at Obon!
This will also be the year we celebrate Gujo Odori being registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage so there will be an emphasis on the traditional and cultural aspects of Gujo Odori. It is bound to be an exciting summer, so be sure to plan well ahead.You can see the full calendar of Gujo Odori dancing days here and you can download the full schedule here.
It was officially decided at the UNESCO Intergovernmental Commission held in Morocco in 2023 to register Gujo Odori along with 40 other Bon Festivals as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.
The Kansui Kakeodori dance of Meiho, Gujo City is included in the application for registration of "Furyu Odori as a Bon event", meaning that two UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritages were simultaneously created in Gujo City.
Mino City, Takayama City, and Shirakawa Village, which are adjacent to Gujo City, each have significant cultural heritage. The Gassho-style houses of Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while Mino Washi, and the Takayama Festival are UNESCO World Heritage designated Intangible Cultural Heritages. This makes the area around Gujo Hachiman a cultural gathering place that is rare in Japan
The Nagara River Basin, which includes Gujo Hachiman, has been selected by Green Destinations as one of the World's Top 100 destinations in 2021!
Nature is deeply connected to Japanese people’s life and ecotourism is a wonderful way of discovering both Japanese culture and landscape. Japan now now its own Sustainable Tourism Standards for Destinations accredited by the GSTC proving the country’s commitment to implementing sustainable tourism.
Visit Gujo Hachiman and you can expect to be immersed in an authentic small town Japanese experience unique to an "off the beaten path" town. Here the traditional way of living is on a very human scale. People passing each other in the street still greet each other with a small bow, and exchange a passing greeting.
Gujo Hachiman offers visitors a rare opportunity to see, and be part of, a traditional way of life that has changed little over many years.
Visitors to Gujo Hachiman may find the use of English somewhat limited, but can always expect a warm welcome wherever they may go in town.
Participate in a unique and accessible Japanese cultural event in a way few foreigners ever get to experience. Dance all night to traditional odori songs like "Kawasaki", "Harukoma" or "Gengen Bala Bala." You can learn more about Gujo Odori here and find the start time and location of each day's dancing here.
You can now particpate in a fully guided Gujo Odori experience with Sugi Interface Studio. More information about this experience, including terms and prices can be found here.
Enjoy a truly authentic traditional ryokan or minshuku experience at any of the many ryokans or minshukus listed on the accommodation page. All these ryokans or minshukus are small, intimate, and family run. The Gujo Hachiman Kinenkan Tourist Centre can help you find the one that's right for you. Please note that accommodation during the Gujo Odori season is best booked well in advance. Learn more about surprisingly affordable ryokan and minshuku accommodation in Gujo Hachiman.
The Japanese garden at this small temple is simply magnificent. But more importantly, it is peaceful, soul restoring, and uncrowded. Be sure to listen for the "suikinkutsu" or "water harp cave". While the autumn colours are stunning, the other seasons also have their charms.
You can learn more about this beautiful temple and its garden on our Temples page. You will also find a link to Jion Ji's official website there.
Few people know that the ubiquitous plastic food sample seen outside virtually every restaurant in Japan was invented in Gujo Hachiman. Visit the place were 70% of Japan's "food samples" are made. Be sure to try your hand at making your very own lettuce leaf or shrimp tempura sample! Learn more
For a truly unique experience, wade into the Yoshida or Nagara River and try your luck at catching your dinner (A permit is required but easily obtained)! For the less adventurous, be sure to try this gourmet treat in restaurants around town! A local can point you in the right direction.
Named as one of the 5 Must-Ride Local Lines in Japan, a ride on the Nagara River Railway is a trip back in time to when travel was exciting but relaxing, and the views from trains were unmatched. The small "one man car" trains of the Nagara River Railway offer practical, relaxing, and hassle free transportation for visitors seeking to reach Gujo Hachiman from Mino Ota. And starting April 2016, the week-end only specially designed all first class "Nagara" offers a unique "not to be missed" rail experience daily between Mino Ota and Gujo Hachiman. Learn more about this unique rail service.
Gujo Hachiman offers a unique alternative to the hectic and sometimes overwhelming urban experience that Japan can be. It's a chance to collect your thoughts, reflect upon your amazing journey, and to connect with Japanese people, customs, and experiences that are unique to a small town.
This convenient pick-up service is timed to connect with the highway bus services offered by Kintetsu, Meitetsu and Nohi Bus companies. Gujo Hachiman is an intermediate stop on highway bus lines that serve Hida Takayama making it easy for visitors to stop off in Gujo Hachiman on the way to or from Hida Takayama.
Important: The highway bus stop is located along the Tokai Hokouriku Highway, approximately 2km out of the centre of town. Advance reservations are required BEFORE your highway bus departure from Nagoya, Takayama or Osaka. Fee : 350 yen
To make a reservation please call: 0120-053155 (9:00am~5:00pm )
Please refer to the pick-up service time table for bus arrival and departure times.
The Japanese National Government, in 2013, designated 14.1 hectares in the centre of the central historic district as an "Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings." Specifically the buildings along Ote machi, Shokunin machi, Yanagi machi and Kajia machi. Visitors can easily find, and visit this historic area which surrounds the central Jokamachi Plaza. Download our free self-guided Historical Visit tour and map.
The Japanese National Government has designated Gujo Hachiman Station, built in 1929, as an Important Cultural Property. The designation covers the station building, the platforms, and the bridge between the two platforms. The station is owned the Nagara River Railway and is part of the Samurai Line. You can visit the Samurai Line's Facebook Page to learn more about this rail link the joins Seki, Mino and Gujo Hachiman
Download our Free City Map and start planing your visit!
You can also take a free self-guided tour. Download the free map and walking tour directions. Allow about 2 hours for the full visit which includes the historical centre of town. A self guided river walk tour is also available for free download. It's the perfect way to experience Gujo Hachiman in the Spring and Autumn.
Everyone is welcome to learn Gujo Odori. The Gujo Hachiman Hakurankan hosts daily Gujo Odori lessons in the two most important dances - Kawasaki and Haru Koma. The pace is relaxed, entertaining and easy to follow. Those wishing to simply observe are also welcome.
When: Please check the website below for Gujo Odori lesson and demonstration times.
Where: Gujo Hachiman Hakurankan, Tono machi near to Jokamachi Plaza
Adult Admission：520 JPY Children 310 JPY. Entry to the gift shop is free. Open daily except for New Year's holiday.
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Visit us in person:
Kinenkan Tourism Centre
Gujo Shi, Gifu ken,
9:00 am - 5:00 pm daily
9:00 am - 6:00 pm during Gujo Odori season
Phone: 0575 67-0002