Enjoying the Autumn Colours at Gifu Park
By John Asano
Gifu Park (岐阜公園) is a fantastic public park located in Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture. The park contains many attractions including Gifu Castle, Mount Kinka, Mount Kinka Ropeway, Three Storied Pagoda, the Gifu City Museum of History and the Nawa Insect Museum.
Surrounded by beautiful nature, the park is stunning in Autumn with brilliant red, orange and yellow leaves bringing the whole place alive with colour. A good starting point is the fountain located near the park entrance. From there you can explore the beautiful garden and pond at the base of the ropeway.
Samurai warlord, Oda Nobunaga built his magnificent palace (Senjo-jiki), which literally means “one-thousand tatami mats” at the base of Mount Kinka in the park. The grand palace was so large that it covered around two-thirds of the present day park. The palace no longer remains, but today you can enjoy some of the excavation work the city has carried out on the palace ruins.
If you are feeling energetic, then a climb up the top of Mount Kinka is a lot of fun. There are several courses to the top starting from Gifu Park, each ranging in level of difficulty. It usually takes most people around an hour to reach the top from Gifu Park. For the non-hikers there is always the luxury of the ropeway which offers spectacular views and takes you to the top in a matter of minutes.
At the summit of Mount Kinka, you’ll find Gifu Castle, which is a modern day reconstruction built in the 1950s. The trees surrounding the castle are ablaze of colours in Autumn and contrast beautifully with the white castle walls and grey roof tiles.
Gifu Park also hosts an interesting Chrysanthemum Flower Show every year from late October to late November. The flower show features around 3,000 pots of various chrysanthemums that are put on display. Make sure to check-out the Chrysanthemum Doll Show as well, which features Oda Nobunaga and his soldiers.
The best time to enjoy the Autumn colours at Gifu Park is typically mid to late November.
Address: Omiya-cho, Gifu City, Gifu Prefecture
Best Time: Mid to Late November
Admission: FREE to Gifu Park, 200 yen to enter Gifu Castle
Ropeway Fare: 1,080 yen round trip
Gifu City is located about 2 hours away from Tokyo via Shinkansen and JR train from Nagoya. Take a JR Tokaido Shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya, followed by a short 20 minute JR train from Nagoya to Gifu Station (Tokaido Line).
To reach Gifu Park, take a Gifu Bus from either JR Gifu Station (platform 11 or 12) or Meitetsu Gifu Station (platform 4). Get off at the Gifu Park and Museum of History bus stop (Gifu Koen Rekishi Hakubutsukan-mae). It takes approximately 15 minutes to reach the park.