Discover the hidden routes of Gifu’s “Water City,” Gujo Hachiman. With a guide, cycle around town and admire its pristine rivers and canals. You’ll also visit a Japanese garden in a temple, and climb up Gujo Hachiman Castle for a wonderful view.
At Gifu Prefecture — known as the “heartland of Japan” for its central location — lies the quaint town of Gujo Hachiman. Dubbed the “Water City,” Gujo Hachiman is defined not only by its old-school townscape, but also by its many life-preserving waterways. On this cycling tour, you’ll explore Gujo Hachiman with a guide who can lead you through roads and back alleys less traveled by tourists, and often missed by guidebooks and sightseeing maps. These local routes will give you a peek into a day in the life of the townspeople. Meet your guide at Gujo Hachiman Station, then hop on your electric bicycle and set off! Your e-bike allows for a much smoother cycling experience, and is easier to use for novice cyclists. Since you won’t easily feel worn down from pedaling, you can explore at a more leisurely pace. As you cycle around Gujo Hachiman, admire the nostalgia-tinged townscape. Well-preserved old houses stand on Gujo Hachiman’s streets to this day, and the town boasts pristine, flowing waters — not to mention friendly locals. You’ll warm up to this charming town right away and feel an enchanting sense of nostalgia, as if you’ve traveled back to simpler times. Admire the town’s prized waters: the beautiful Nagara River — a beloved symbol of Gifu — and the pristine Yoshida River that flows through the town. Along the way, stop for photos with Gujo Hachiman Castle and Yoshida River in the background. Exploring town, you’ll see more of its canals, which are so vital to the lives of the locals. Watch fish and children swimming freely, and touch the water. It’s so clean that you can even drink it! Besides getting a glimpse of the countryside lifestyle, you’ll also get a look into Japanese culture by visiting a temple and castle. Make your way to Jionzenji Temple, where you can view the breathtaking Tetsuso-en Garden. An oasis tucked away in the grounds of a Zen temple, this Japanese garden is centered around a calm pond that’s surrounded by verdant maple trees. As you gaze at the scenery, you’ll hear the ambient sounds of the garden’s waterfall. Afterward, you’ll cycle to Gujo Hachiman Castle. A beautiful fortress atop a mountain, this castle stands out among the surrounding maple trees, which turn a stunning auburn in autumn. Climb up the castle, where you can enjoy a superb view of the town below, before heading back toward the direction of Gujo Hachiman Station. Pass through Shokunin Machi (Craftsmen’s Street), which was once home to the town’s craftspeople; you’ll still see a few workshops that remain open for business. Make a stop at a renovated teahouse for a 30-minute break, where you’ll enjoy mitarashi dango (skewered rice dumplings coated in a sweet-savory glaze) and green tea, before ending your tour back at Gujo Hachiman Station. As a small town, Gujo Hachiman offers the same Japanese scenery as major cities like Kyoto, but without the excesses of urban life. Relatively peaceful and less crowded, this town is the perfect location for a scenic and relaxing cycling tour, so book now!