Sprawling to the north of Gifu, Yamagata boasts a rich history dating back to the 8th-century Nara Period. It’s home to a sacred Shinto shrine and pond resembling the work of Monet while also offering easy access to Gifu’s museums and recreated castle.
Things to do
Soak up the tranquility at the Nameless Pond, a picturesque pool of water that’s famed for its colourful lilies and koi fish. It’s also referred to as “The Pond of Monet” due to its resemblance to the Impressionist’s famous painting “Water Lilies” and lies en route to the Shinto shrine of Nemichi.
Visit the reconstructed Gifu Castle, which was originally built during the early-13th-century Kamakura Period and stands as a symbol of the city. Admire the ancient weaponry, paintings and artefacts, then take in the 360-degree panoramic views across Gifu from the observation deck.
Combine your castle visit with a ride on the Mount Kinka Ropeway or opt to tackle the Hundred-Turn Hiking Trail leading to the mountain’s summit. Rising to 329 metres, it’s also home to the Mount Kinka Squirrel Village where you can feed four different species of these furry creatures.
Travelling with kids? Visit the Gifu City Science Museum that’s packed with exhibits exploring the natural and scientific worlds. Young visitors will enjoy the interactive displays of the Gifu Butterfly Land, while older kids can delve into the world of meteorology and view the night sky in the planetarium.
Yamagata is around two hours’ drive from Chubu International Airport or one hour from Nagoya Airport. Buses are the main means of getting around Yamagata and accessing its surrounding sights.