Gifu is an inland prefecture located in the Chubu region. Its capital is Gifu city. It is a mountainous region that includes the Hida mountain range (also called Northern Alps) and Kiso mountain range (Central Alps), which are called the roofs of Japan. In the western area, cold winter winds known as “Ibuki oroshi” can suddenly drop the effective temperature
to the level observed in northern Japan. On the other hand, in Tajimi city in the Mino area, the temperature may rise to the nation’s highest in summer. Therefore, there is a great temperature difference within the prefecture. Since it is a mountainous region, forestry is thriving, and it is one of the leading prefectures for the production of Hinoki cypress. The traditional craft of Mino Japanese paper is well-known. During the Edo period, Mino Japanese paper was widely used as a synonym for shoji paper, and now, it is designated as an intangible important cultural asset. Although the number of artisans has decreased, handmade Japanese paper is still produced there using the traditional method. Tono region is known as the biggest production site of pottery wares. Almost 50 percent of the pottery made in Japan is produced here as represented by Minoyaki pottery. As for tourist spots, Takayama city where commoners’ houses from the Edo period still remain, Okuhida hot springs villages at the foot of Northern Alps, and Gero hot springs, included in the three most famous hot springs of Japan, are all in Gifu. In addition, number of foreign tourists who visit Shirakawago is rapidly increasing. Since gassho-zukuri houses in Shirakawago were added to the world heritage list in 1995, it has become one of the most popular tourist spots in Japan. Especially, the Ogimachi district is famous for its gassho-zukuri village that provides a unique landscape. On the other hand, Hida beef is attracting attention as a gourmand food that represents Gifu prefecture. Hida beef that are raised with clear Hida water in the clean air of the highland features fine, tender meat. Also, Takayama ramen prepared by cooking soup and sauce together is rapidly gaining popularity now.
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