Hiking Mt. Kinka

Located at the heart of Gifu Prefecture, Mt. Kinka (金華山), also called Kinkazan is famously known as the mountain where Gifu Castle stands. 

Mt. Kinka (金華山)

Mt. Kinka Details

Formerly called Mt. Inaba, Mount Kinka has a height of 1079 feet or 329 meters. Centuries ago, the mountain and its surrounding forests were protected as it served as a hunting ground for the Owari Clan who ruled the lands then. Today, the forest is already designated as a National Forest and is home to about 80 types of birds and 700 types of plants.

Mt. Inaba, Kinkazan
Mt. Kinka - Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture

Mt Kinka as seen from my room in Juhachiro (ryokan)

A write up about Mt. Kinka won't be complete without including the castle at its peak. Originally called Inabayama Castle, the structure was built by the Nikaido Clan sometime between 1201 to 1204. It was captured by Oda Nobunaga in 1567 and was renamed Gifu Castle, likewise the mountain was also renamed Kinkazan or Mt. KinkaThroughout history, the castle was destroyed and rebuilt several times. The present castle was reconstructed in 1956.

Jump off point found at Gifu Park

Another option is to ride the Kinkazan Ropeway.

To reach the Gifu Castle, visitors can follow one of the four hiking trails up the mountain. The hike takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Another option is to ride the Mt. Kinka Ropeway which enables visitors to reach the top of the mountain in only 3-4 minutes. However, visitors still need to walk several meters to reach the castle.

Expect man-made steps until the peak

Passing through the Tenka Daiichi-no-mon Gate

You'd see plenty of boards with historical details posted on it

...some are artworks done by locals

Keep an eye out for historical information along the way

...not to forget those small shrines too

Mr. Toshi was very helpful in translating Japanese words for us

Passing through another torii gate near the castle

A little more...

You may choose to rest anytime...

... there are mountain huts where you could stop to rest

A view of Gifu City from one of the clearings

Surprisingly, Gifu Castle isn't the only attraction found on top of Mt. Kinka. Near the castle is the Gifu Castle Archives Museum or simply Gifu Castle Museum which houses numerous artifacts that showcase the history of the mountain and the castle. Another attraction is the Mt. Kinka Squirrel Village. It's a place where visitors get the chance to feed and play with the squirrels. They also learn about the different species of squirrels living in the Squirrel Village. The mountain also offers something for food lovers... and it's not dishes made from squirrels... The Observation Deck Restaurant is a great place to eat your meal and at the same time view the vastness of the city below. 

Gifu Castle is the highlight of the hike to Mt. Kinka

Gifu Castle Museum

The Mt. Kinka Observation Deck

Squirrel Village

I got to go up Mt. Kinka with my family during our 18th day in Japan. We were accompanied by our Japanese godfather, Mr. Toshi, during the said trip. Since we have my 5-year old daughter along, we were not able to hike up the mountain. We rode the ropeway instead. Regardless, it still took us 15 minutes to reach the castle from the ropeway station. 

Team Nicerio conquered Mt. Kinka

Why visit Mt. Kinka?

Overall, Mt. Kinka has been well utilized by the people of Gifu City. It serves not only as another tourist destination of the city but also as a supplier of the unlimited clean air of the people below it. It is safe to say that a visit to Gifu City won't be complete without going up Mt. Kinka. 

Getting to Mt. Kinka:

From JR Gifu station, ride a bus and board down at Gifu Koen Mae bus stop. You may choose to ride the Kinkazan Ropeway or walk up the mountain from here.

Overall rating


  1. Looks really beautiful. What was your favorite part?

    1. I love the Gifu Castle found at the peak of Mt. Kinka. I presents you with a 360 degree view of Gifu City.

  2. Your pictures are really cool. Looks like you guys had a good time.

  3. Great article. Beautiful pictures. I love reading about places that are far away. Maybe someday I will be able to travel. Thank you for sharing!

    1. I highly suggest Gifu City if you're planning to visit Japan. It's rarely visited by foreigners. =)

  4. I have been looking for ideas for my summer trip this year. This one seems like a great option. Loved the scenery on the trek. Thanks for the detailed info. Will check if this fits my schedule and keep you posted if indeed I travel there!!!

    1. That sounds great. I do hope you get the chance to visit Gifu City in Japan. =)

  5. The trees makes the forest look absolutely magical.

  6. It's so beautiful! I haven't been to Japan, but it's definitely on my list of places-to-visit.

    Aly Michell

    1. That's great Aly. Please do include Gifu Prefecture when you do visit.

  7. I have been to Japan for a few times but have never been to Gifu city. Looks great

    1. Hello Lolita. You should visit this prefecture next time. =)

  8. I love these type of parks. The viewpoint is amazing here.

  9. Wow it’s so beautiful there. I could only imagine how peaceful taking all that in could be.

    1. Gifu City is truly a beautiful place. Please do visit it sometime.

  10. I will send this to my friend who lives in Gifu. He loves visiting shrines and nature and I don't think he has been to this place.

  11. I love to read adventure stories

  12. Wow this place looks absolutely amazing! I wish I could visit tomorrow!

  13. We have planned trekking in this summer. I never did trekking on mountains. this sounds like fun! Absolutely loved the pictures.

    1. Thank you Sanjota. Better add this mountain to your list of mountains to trek.

  14. Thank you for visiting my blog as well.

  15. Another place you've made me want to see 😅 makes me wish I could travel freely and without an issue but I'm too unwell to do so.

    1. I'm praying for your recovery. I hope you get to see the world. =)

  16. This sounds like such a fun place!

    1. Mt. Kinka is really a fun place to visit. Try hiking it someday VAS.

  17. The view is just astonishing. Definitely part of the bucket list.


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