Japan Diaries 2: Day 18

Day 18 June 3, 2018

Gifu - Nagano Road Trip Day 4

It's a beautiful day here in Gifu City. We are on our last leg of our Gifu-Nagano Road trip. As usual, I decided to wake up very early to take a dip at our hotel's onsen. By this time, I could proudly say that I have unlocked several achievements... First of all is the "Nude Man Walking" which means I have lost the sense of shame, walking naked around other men, and the "Grandslam Boiled Eggs " which means I have boiled my you-know-what in an onsen for three straight days already. 

I almost went inside because this was the men's onsen area last night... thank goodness I saw the "Ladies" in the middle curtain

Breakfast time!

He might be old but his talent in making pancakes is matched only by a few

My daughter enjoying her meal

Achievements aside, after my dip I went to meet my family at the dining area for breakfast. The buffet breakfast was amazing. There were so many dishes to choose from. I particularly enjoyed watching the "pancake master" create artistic pancakes that resemble animals, things, and even cartoon characters.

We strolled to Gifu Park where the Kinkazan Ropeway is located

Finally Kinkazan Ropeway!

Check out the ticket price to ride the Kinkazan Ropeway

My daughter with Riro-chan

Going up Mt. Kinka via ropeway to visit Gifu Castle

The mountain-top station reached! Time to walk to the peak!

After the hearty breakfast, Mr. Toshi decided to bring us to Gifu Castle before we check out of Juhachiro (ryokan). Ms. Taeko, on the other hand, decided to stay behind to pack up their stuff. We traveled to the castle grounds on foot since it was just a few minutes away by foot. However, to reach the castle, we needed to ride the Kinkazan Ropeway also known as Mt. Kinka Ropeway as the castle was built on top of Mt. Kinka

Read the history of Gifu Castle's lords


Almost there!

Finally! The keep is just a few meters away!

Going inside Gifu Castle

Checking out the artifacts displayed inside Gifu Castle

I could be the next lord of this castle...

The view from the Gifu Castle viewing deck

Look who's enjoying her view

Despite having a ropeway that brought us to the top of the mountain, we still had to trek several meters going to the Gifu Castle. The castle contained artifacts from Japan's feudal period. What's amazing about the castle was the breathtaking view from the keep's top floor. From the viewing areas on the top floor of the castle, one could see the panoramic view of the city and the surrounding hills and mountains.

Team Nicerio visits Mt. Kinka

Here comes our ropeway!

We didn't stay long though as Ms. Taeko was waiting for us at the ryokan. When we got down from Mt. Kinka via the ropeway, Mr. Toshi asked us if it's ok for us to just wait for him at Gifu Park while he goes back to Juhachiro to fetch Ms. Taeko and also check out. We agreed as Ella was tired from the trek that we had done earlier.

Check out that lady sitting beside the pond at Gifu Park

Ella learned how to use the bow

Thanks for the yummy jelly giveaway!

While waiting for Mr. Toshi, we saw a couple of guys dressed up in feudal era armor who were encouraging passersby to try out the traditional archery for free of course Ella enthusiastically tried it out. To her amazement, she was rewarded with Japanese gelatin for her efforts. I tried too of course and I also got some prizes. 

Gifu Kinpouzan Shoboji

Gifu Kinpouzan Shoubouji's goshuin

When Mr. Toshi arrived, he asked me if there were other places in Gifu City that I also want to visit. I checked out the Gifu City tourism brochure which I got from the ryokan and asked if it's possible to visit Gifu Kinpouzan Shoubouji (Temple) or simply Shoboji to see one of the largest images of Buddha in Japan. Mr. Toshi agreed and it only took a few minutes away by car to reach it. It was only me and Mr. Toshi who went into the temple. I did not miss the chance to get a goshuin for my collection.

Mr. Toshi offering a prayer to one of Japan's largest Buddha

Inside the Shoboji was a large image of Buddha. However, it was not as big as the Buddha statue we saw in Todaiji years back. Regardless, it was still a sight to behold. While admiring the 13.7-meter tall Buddha, Mr. Toshi told me that this temple belongs to the Obaku school of Buddhism which was his religious affiliation. 

Checking out Salamanca Hall

Inside Salamanca Hall

Before we left Gifu City, we stopped by Salamanca Hall to say goodbye to Ms. Kayako (Mr. Toshi's sister) who will be performing with her choir group in the said concert hall. Although Ms. Kayako gave us a free pass to watch her concert, we didn't stay long as we still have around 210 kilometers of road to drive to get home to Osaka.

Sunomata Ichiya Castle

Sunomata Castle up close

Inside Sunomata Castle

The view from the top of the Sunomata Ichiya Castle

On our drive back, we had a bit of a side trip to Sunomata Ichiya Castle in Ogaki City which is still in Gifu Prefecture. The castle sits beside the Sai River and houses feudal era artifacts like samurai weapons and armor. The top floor presents a great view of the river and the lands surrounding it. 

Start of our long drive from Gifu to Osaka

Stopover at Expasa in Mie Prefecture

Time to choose what to eat for our late lunch

Check out the children's toilet

From the castle, Mr. Toshi drove for about 40 kilometers to Expasa which was a roadside stopover in Mie Prefecture to grab some snacks. From there, I drove the remaining 170 kilometers home marking an end to our Gifu-Nagano road trip and also unlocking my 
ドライバ (Doraiba) achievement for driving more than 100 kilometers in Japan.

Here's a perfect sunset view from our room.

Overall, it was a very memorable 4-day adventure which wouldn't be possible if not for our awesome Japanese family. Without them, many of those wonderful destinations that we visited would still remain in our drawing boards and dreams.

That night, I slept peacefully, excited for what the remaining 4 days in Japan has to offer. 


  1. this looks incredible and that food looks so good!

    1. Thanks Ashli. =) The food was not only good it was amazing.

  2. Seems like you and your family are having the best time! Thanks for sharing! I'd love to visit this part of Japan soon!

    1. Thanks for visiting my blog Lorita. My family and I really did enjoy our time in Japan. =)

  3. this makes me want to visit japan ASAP!

    1. You should visit Japan Kat. You'd surely love it. =)

  4. wow that hike to the castle seemed like a tough one!

  5. wish you a hearty congratulations

  6. Oh wow what a lovely and beautiful place.

  7. Lol those bathroom symbols.. Enjoyed reading it. The culture is entirely different from so it looks fascinating.

    1. That's the reason why I love traveling. I learn a lot about other people's culture. =)

  8. This looks a wonderful place to visit. Your pics are amazing.

    1. Gifu City is really a wonderful place to visit. You should include this to your travel plans. =)

  9. I want to eat those pancakes !

    1. It's actually depressing to eat the pancake as it looks more of art than food.

  10. Looks like you had such a wonderful time!

    1. My family and I really had a great time in Gifu.

  11. Loving the view of castle viewing deck and and the pond of Gifu Park looks perfect for nature I like this kind of travel adventure awesome photos.

    1. Thank you. Please do visit Gifu when you go to Japan.

  12. I feel like i was there w/o you.☺

  13. That breakfast spread made me hungry..:P

  14. You always bring as virtually to many parts of Japan! You are doing an awesome job. Seriously, you can be a local guide.

    1. Thank you Blair. =) Your comment made my day. =)

  15. This was a detailed information. Sure it's a fun to hang around here.

  16. Fun travels.. maybe someday I will have time to travel!

  17. Thank you so much. Please do include Gifu City to your itinerary when you visit Japan.

  18. How exciting and to be able to share with your daughter!

    1. That's true. This adventure is very memorable because my daughter was with me.

  19. What an amazing travel. I'm amazed with the pancake master too.

    1. I agree with you Elizabeth. That guy really does amaze me.


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