February 14, 2018

Hida-Furukawa: Must-Visit Spots and Why You Should Go Here

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  • It was a snowy Tuesday morning when we went to Hida Furukawa, the town of traditional architecture in Japan.

    Hida Furukawa covered with snow

    It was seemingly quiet when we arrived at Hida Furukawa. The pathways were covered with snow and the streets were lined with old traditional houses. There weren’t any people outside. We arrived in time for lunch, where we had a sumptuous traditional meal at Ajidokoro Furukawa. If you have watched the popular Japanese anime movie Kimi No Nawa (Your Name), one of the locations of the film was in this restaurant.

    Ajidokoro Furukawa restaurant

    Fresh buckwheat noodles perfect for the cold weather

    After the sumptuous meal, we then explored Hida Furukawa. We were given a map to better understand what the town has to offer, and as I opened to read it, the words “Come to Furukawa, when you are exhausted in your busy life” were printed on it. It was a totally nostalgic experience to see the town, and if I could go back, I would. It was truly charming and it shows the other side of Japan.

    We dropped by some of the significant spots in Hida Furukawa. Here’s what we learned about them.

    Sake Brewery Tour lets you on a Sake-Tasting Experience

    Sake lady preparing sake for us to try

    Yes, you can have a sip of the much-loved Japanese beverage sake here! Hida Brewers Association offers a Sake Brewery Tour where guests can visit six of the breweries of Hida Furukawa. There are guides who will explain the history and methods of brewing sake in each destination. Sorry, minors and designated drivers are prohibited during the sake-tasting!

    Hida Furukawa’s Festival is heralded as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

    Happening from April 19 to 20, Furukawa welcomes the arrival of spring through various festivals.

    Alya trying the Okoshi Daiko

    The most popular of the festivals is what they call the Okoshi Daiko. This “Rousing Drum” Festival, held every 19th of April, is a dynamic event wherein hundreds of half-naked men parade through the streets carrying the main drum and the small drums (tsuke-daiko). These men aggressively bang the drums as members balance atop the poles.

    The main drum is displayed at the center of the town. Tourists can have their photos taken as they try to hit the drums used in the said festival.

    Seto-gawa Canal: Home to 1,000 carps

    Carps will be back after winter!

    This iconic canal isn’t just an ordinary canal. For one, it is home to over 1,000 carps. The beautiful canal stretches from Arakigawa River to Hida Crafts Museum. The water in this canal was previously used for washing vegetables but it became polluted then. Residents brought its beauty back by donating carps. We went here during winter so the carps moved to a warmer spot. They move back here during spring (April to November).

    Every 15th of January, a festival called Santera Mairi or “Three Temples Pilgrimage” is held in the place where people pilgrimage at the temples to pay respect. It’s also an event where young adults have the chance to meet potential partners!

    Hida Furukawa has their own Festival Exhibition Hall

    The Yatai (festival floats) are safely kept in the Exhibition Hall

    To further understand the festivals of Furukawa, it’s best to go to Hida Furukawa Matsuri Kaikan. This hall exhibits the 9 yatai floats used during their festival. You can also watch a short 3D movie of the Furukawa Matsuri to learn about what happens in the festival.

    Of course, we tried the marionettes!

    Guests can also try the Karakuri marionettes. Their marionettes, Seiryu-tai and Kirin-tai, are controlled by 20 and 25 strings respectively. These marionettes performances are also much-awaited during the festival.

    Address: 14-5 Ichinomachi, Furukawacho, Hida City, Gifu Prefecture, Japan
    Admission fee: ¥500 (Adult), ¥300 for 16 years old and below, and FREE for children 6 years and below
    Operating Hours: 9 am to 5 pm (Closes at 4:30 pm from December to February)
    Contact: +81 0577-73-3511

    Kimi no Nawa Real-life Locations are found in Hida Furukawa

    If you’re familiar with the movie Kimi no Nawa (Your Name), then you’ll be delighted to know that most of the locations used for the film were in fact situated in Hida Furukawa. Japanese director Makoto Shinkai’s film based some of the film’s location in real-life spots in the town. Here are some of them:

    Taki and Mitsuha were here!

    It was such a memorable experience to tour around the beautiful town of Hida Furukawa. As we walked along the streets and explored its museums, we learned so much about its history. No wonder it’s the perfect refuge for everyone who’d love to escape the busy urban life. It’s a must-visit for everyone to experience looking back at the traditional days of the Land of the Rising Sun.


    Website: https://www.hida-kankou.jp/kanko/foreign/en/
    Contact: 0577-74-1192 (Hida Tourism Association)
    Email: info@hida-tourism.com
    How to get here: Take the JR Line Takayama to Hida Furukawa which runs for 16 minutes.

    Written by Jastine Valeriano

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