Gifu Koen 岐阜公園
Gifu Koen (Gifu Park) in Gifu city, Gifu Prefecture, is a public park at the foot of Mt. Kinka.
Gifu Koen contains several of Gifu's museums, the excavated remains of Nobunaga's once grand residence, known as Senjo-jiki (千畳敷; "thousand tatami mats"), the cable car station to the top of Mt. Kinka, as well as various statues, a Japanese garden, a three-storey pagoda, ornamental ponds and memorials.
Gifu Park was formally opened in 1888 during the Meiji Period of Japanese history.
Gifu City Museum of History
Gifu City Museum of History presents the history of Gifu Prefecture from the Jomon Period to the present day. The museum has exhibits on the early history and archaeology of Gifu Prefecture, the Sengoku (Warring States) period and a collection of the traditional arts and crafts of Gifu, which include its high quality paper umbrellas and paper lanterns.
Nawa Insect Museum
The Nawa Insect Museum is Japan's largest insect museum with a fascinating collection of over 300,000 specimens from 12,000 species. Nawa Insect Museum was opened by the local Gifu Prefecture-born entomologist Yasushi Nawa (1857-1926), who discovered the Japanese luehdorfia japonica butterfly (Gifu butterfly) in 1883. Nawa Insect Museum, founded by Nawa in 1919, is Japan's oldest insect museum.
Kato Eizo-Toichi Memorial Art Museum
The Eizo and Toichi Kato Memorial Art Museum was established in 1991 and is dedicated to the work of the local nihonga-style painters Eizo (1906-1972) and Toichi Kato (1916-1996). The brothers, the third and fifth sons of a local lacquerware worker, both studied at the Tokyo Fine Arts School in Ueno, Tokyo, before going on to have successful careers as painters. Both drew inspiration for their work from flowers and also the wildlife and nature of Gifu Prefecture, in particular the cormorants of the Nagara River and Mt. Kinka.
Itagaki Taisuke Statue
Itagaki Taisuke (1837-1919), a nationalist politician of the Meiji Period, was a leader of the Popular Rights Movement and became the head of Japan's first political party - the Jiyuto (Liberal Party). Itagaki narrowly survived an assassination attempt by a right-wing thug armed with a knife at Chukyo-in Shrine, which once stood in Gifu Park, in 1882. Stained with blood, he called out his most famous phrase: "Itagaki may die, but liberty never." The statue of Itagaki Taisuke was erected in 1917.
The free Water Museum in Gifu Koen opened in 2002 and is dedicated to water supply. The museum is housed in an old pumping station that dates from the 1930's and was built with stone from the nearby Nagaragawa River. On display are historic pumps and flow meters.
Gifu Castle, on top of Mt. Kinka, displays exhibits of Edo Period armor, photographs, paintings and samurai weapons. There are explanations in both English and Japanese. A small museum below the castle the Gifu Castle Archives Museum, to your left as you walk down, contains musical instruments and other period artifacts and is included in the price of admission. The building is a modern reconstruction of an original weapon and food storage turret.
Mt. Kinka Ropeway
The Mt. Kinka Ropeway ferries visitors to the top of Mt. Kinka to view Gifu Castle, though there are various hiking trails to the summit for the more energetic. The base station has a cafe and souvenir shops. The one-way fare is 620 yen or 1,080 yen round trip for people over 12 years of age. The ropeway runs from 8am-6pm from May 12-October 16 (8am-10pm in the summer months); 9am-5pm from October 17-March 15; 9am-6pm from March 16-May 11 (5am-5pm January 1).
Kinkazan Squirrel Village
The Kinkazan Squirrel Village was the first such squirrel village to open in Japan. Visitors can pet and play with the animals. The Kinkazan Squirrel Village is located close to the Summit Station of the Mt. Kinka Ropeway and is open daily, year round from 9.30am-4.30pm (admission 200 yen).
The Gokoku Shrine in Gifu Park is one of the many Gokoku shrines throughout Japan. The shrine is dedicated to residents of Gifu Prefecture who have died in wars since the beginning of the Meiji Period in 1868. The shrine dates from 1940 and is known for its cherry blossoms in season. The shrine hosts festivals in April and October and is a popular location for weddings and the Shichi-go-san festival. Young girls can also take a short course on experiencing being a miko shrine maiden.
Japan-China Friendship Garden
The Japan-China Friendship Garden, just north of Gifu Park, was built in 1999 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the friendship partnership between Gifu and Hangzhou. The Japan-China Friendship Garden is laid out in classic, Chinese style with a keyhole gate, ornamental ponds, bridges and pavilions. The central pond is meant to resemble the famous West Lake in Hangzhou, which so inspired ancient Chinese poets.
Gifu Koen is located north east of JR Gifu Station near the Nagara River. Take a bus from JR Gifu Station or Meitetsu Gifu Station and alight at the Gifukoen Rekishihakubutsukan-mae stop. The bus fare is 210 yen for adults; 100 yen for children.
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