Gifu prefecture



***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Gifu Prefecture (岐阜県, Gifu-ken) is a prefecture located in the Chūbu region of central Japan. Its capital is the city of Gifu. Located in the center of Japan, it has long played an important part as the crossroads of Japan, connecting the east to the west through such routes as the Nakasendō. During the Sengoku period, many people referred to Gifu by saying, "control Gifu and you control Japan."

The land area of Gifu Prefecture consists of the old provinces of Hida and Mino, as well as smaller parts of Echizen and Shinano. The name of the prefecture derives from its capital city, Gifu, which was named by Oda Nobunaga during his campaign to unify all of Japan in 1567.
The first character 岐阜 used comes from Qishan (岐山), a legendary mountain from which most of China was unified, whereas the second character comes from Qufu (曲阜), the birthplace of Confucius. Nobunaga chose those characters because he wanted to unify all of Japan and he wanted to be viewed as a great mind.
Historically, the prefecture served as the center of swordmaking in all of Japan, with Seki being known for making the best swords in Japan.

The northern Hida region is dominated by tall mountains, including parts of the Japanese Alps. The southern Mino region is mostly made up of parts of the fertile Nōbi Plain, a vast plains area with arable soil.

The Mino region has long been known for its high-quality paper called Mino washi, which is stronger and thinner than most other papers in Japan.

Shirakawa and Takayama 白河 高山.
Gifu is famous for cormorant fishing, which has a history of over 1,300 years.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Maze Village 馬瀬村
famous for its clear river water, supported by a broad-leaf forest.
mori ga sakana o sodatsu, the forest helps grow good fish.
uotsukirin 魚付林(うおつきりん) a forest needed for providing food for the fish

the ayu sweetfish are the best of all Japan. Also called fragrant fish, koogyo 香魚.
ajime dojoo 味女泥鰌 (あじめどじょう) loach are often caught with bamboo contraptions placed in little fjords in the river.

ayu no misoyaki, grilled ayu with miso paste
ayu no shioyaki 鮎の塩焼 grilled with salt

. . . CLICK here for ajime Photos !

In Maze, tradigional small waterways run through the village to provide fresh water to each home. There is a basin to wash the vegetables and food, and beside this, another basin to keep some fish who feed on the leftovers from washing food. The fish in turn end up on the dinner table.

Maze is situated in the southern part of Hida area , Gifu Prefecture, close to renowned resorts like Gero (one of the top 3 spas in Japan), Takayama (little Kyoto), and Shirakawa-go (UNESCO world heritage site of traditionally straw-thatched roof houses).

CLICK for more photos Maze (population 1,500) is a mountain village, at 500m high, long 25km from North to South, and wide 4km East to West. Our particularity is the Maze river, famous for Ayu (sweetfish unique in East Asia) and other stream fish. They are the kinds of fish you can find only in clear mountain waters.Plecoglossus altivelis.

Mountains surrounding the Maze river need to be in good shape for fishing. We have luckily kept away from rapid industrialization that changed the whole landscape in other parts of Japan.
Thus, old, wooden houses remain as before. For example, small shrines closely related to each hamlet, to which city dwellers pay little attention, are still well maintained, and play important roles in villagers' daily life. Work on the fields does not start before sunrise, and finishes before sunset. Late autumn harvests stay below the snow cover, a natural refregirator for vegetables. Local fishermen are on the river at 5am, and can start working in offices at 8am.

* Miki-no-Yu outdoor bath next to the river in a natural setting.
* Fishing center which is an information center for fishing, you can rent fishing equipement, get info on fishing, enjoy a BBQ, let your children catch mountain trout by"hand", and have your first experience of the sweetfish fishing, using an Ayu as a live decoy (duing July thru August, you can come empty hands to experience this traditional fishing method).
* Restaurants preparing "Slow Food", contrary to what you have in cities, with selected local ingredients.
source :  www.mazegawa.com

- quote -
Japan singles out five tourism promotion areas
with unique farming and food features:
Tokachi in Hokkaido,
Hiraizumi near Ichinoseki, Iwate Prefecture,
Tsuruoka in Yamagata Prefecture,
Nishi-Awa in Tokushima Prefecture
Maze in Gifu Prefecture
- source : Japan Times November 2016 -


Shirakawa  白河郷 / 白川郷
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Village and World Heritage Area
They grow a lot of soba buckwheat.

Hagimachi 萩町
At the local shrine Hachimangu, there is a festival where doburoku ricewine is served to more than 5000 visitors.
どぶろく祭, 白川八幡神社
A special lion dance is performed with four people inside the "centipede lion" "mukadejishi" 百足獅子 and two leading the lion and fighting with him.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

14th - 19th Oct. Doburoku Matsuri
People pray to the mountain god for safety and a good harvest and offer doburoku(unrefined sake) to the shrine to express their gratitude. While private alcoholic beverage production is banned in Japan, people in Shirakawa are given special permission to produce doburoku for a limited quantity for this festival. Doburoku looks like rice porridge. It is thick and slightly sweet. Doburoku first offered to the shrine later entertains people gathered in the precincts. People there dance, perform niwaka(improvised buffoonery), sing songs and so on. The Doburoku Matsuri Festival is the biggest among the festivities for the villagers.
source :  shirakawa-go.org

. . . CLICK here for Photos of "Centipede Lion Festivals" !

doburoku, trüber Sake


Local dishes from Gifu 岐阜の郷土料理

akakabu no tsukemono 赤かぶの漬物 pickles from red turnips
from Hida Takayama, made from special round turnips of the area 八賀カブ, Hida no akakabu 飛騨紅かぶ in the village 丹生川村. In 1918 the turnips turned red.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

CLICK for more photos ayugashi, ayu kashi 鮎菓子, 鮎がし, あゆ菓子 "sweetfish cakes"
made from castella dough in the shape of sweetfish, remembering the cormorant fishing with these fish along the Naragawa river.
Also as senbei or arare.

ayu no shioyaki 鮎の塩焼 grilled sweetfish with salt
ayu ryoori 鮎料理(雑炊) various sweetfish dishes, including zooni
ayu are a speciality in the rivers Kisogawa, Nagaragawa and others.

WKD : Cormorant fishing (ukai) in Gifu


bijomochi, bijo mochi 美女もち. 美女餅 "pretty woman" mochi
From Hida Asahi 飛騨あさひ
uruchi rice is kneaded into sticks. They can be fried or grilled or simmered.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

dangojiru だんご汁 dumpling soup
made from sato-imo taro. Made for moonviewing imo meigetsu in autumn. The dumplings are first offered to the Moon.
7 parts wheat flour and 3 parts rice flour were mixed for the dumplings. Vegetables were boiled in the miso soup. The soup was then eaten first to make you feel less hungry. Normal cooked rice was served later.

dobujiru どぶ汁(スリタテ汁)mashed beans soup
mashed beans (before making tofu) were boiled in hot water. Then flavored with soy sauce.
This looks white like doburoku, new ricewine.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Enku 円空 <> Master Carver Enku san

In memory of this famous carver, who spent some time in the Mino area.

Enkuu kurokke 円空コロッケ croquettes "Enku"
En-chan boo 円ちゃん棒 Sticks "Enku"

made from the local rice Minonishiki みのにしきand local taro potatoes Enkuu sato-imo 円空さといも

. . . CLICK here for croquette Photos !

. . . CLICK here for sticks Photos !
Two sticks make one portion.


Fuyuu gaki, Fuyuu kaki 富有柿 persimmons from Fuyu town

Goheimochi 五平餅
also from Nagano

hachiyagaki, hachiya kaki 蜂屋柿 persimmons from Mino region
"as sweet as honey" (hachimitsu)

hebo gohei へぼ五平 gohei mochi with wasps
Japanese yellowjacket, Vespula flaviceps
hebo ヘボ is a local name for the larvae of a kind of large black wasps, kuro suzumebachi クロスズメバチ. They are mashed and mixed under the gohei dough. They have a good flavor.
The wild wasps are lured with meat and a thin whiff of cotton. When they carry the lure home to their nest in the woods, the "hunter" follows and takes out the nest.
Others keep the wasps in special wooden hives near their home. Once a year there is even a contest for the heaviest hive of wild wasps.

When a hive is opened, the larvae are picked out of the nest with pincettes and then cooked with soy sauce and sugar, like a tsukudani.

... hebo meshi へぼ飯 rice cooked with wasps
from Tajimi Town 多治見市

WASHOKU : Insects as Food (konchuu ryoori)


Hida Takayama Specialities

chuuka soba, Chinese noodle soup
Hida gyuu, Beef from Hida
Hida soba, buckwheatnoodles
kooreichi yasai ... vegetables from cold areas, the temperature difference from day and night is high and produces a good taste. große tägliche Temperaturvariation
miso and hooba miso
mitarashi dango, Süße Klöße (Knödel aus Reismehlteig)
sake, with a history of more than 300 years
tsukemono, Eingelegtes Gemüse (Japanische Essiggemüse)
... red beet and wild mountain vegetables are pickled

yomogi udon よもぎうどん / ヨモギうどん mugwort noodles, green with ground yomogi
. . . CLICK here for Photos !



hiruganian howaito ヒルガニアンホワイト camembert
Hiruganian White from Jersey cows
kanmanbeeru chiizu カマンベールチーズ camembert cheese
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

hooba miso, Hoba Miso ほうばみそ miso paste served on a hooba leaf
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
Speciality from the Hida Takayama area 飛騨高山, where a lot of food is prepared with the large leaves of the hooba magnolia. Each home prepares its own version of miso, with leek, shiitake, ginger and sesame, served on a washed leave of hooba. The leave is grilled over charcoals.
Hooba is said to be antibacterial so it is good to perserve food in summer.
There is also
hoobazushi 朴葉寿司 with Nagara Masu fish and
hoobamochi 朴葉もち in Gifu.
朴葉(ほうば) weißgraue Magnolie, Magnolia obovata
. . . CLICK here for Hoba Sushi Photos !
Besondere Misopaste aus Gifu, auf einem Hoba-Magnolienblatt serviert

Ibigawa kenton sooseeji いびがわけんとんソーセージ
River Ibigawa 揖斐川

Ibuka shigure 伊深しぐれ simmered gluten of wheat
Vegetarian dish. Simmered hot and sweet.
shigureni shigure-ni 時雨煮 is usually made from hamaguri clams or white chicken breast with ginger. A kind of tsukudani.
Ibuka is famous for its old castle 伊深城.

iburidoofu, iburi doofu いぶり豆腐 smoked tofu 燻り豆腐
岐阜県郡上市大和町栗巣1670 .
toofu no kunsei 豆腐の燻製 smoked tofu

imokyamochi, imokya mochi いもきゃもち mochi from potatoes
From 高山市高根町日和田地域.
Boiled potatoes are mixed with buckwheat flour and simmered at low heat. They area very fragrant.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

imomochi いももち mochi with grated taro roots
To make them tasteful, they are covered with negimiso ネギ味噌 miso with leek or shooga shooyu 生姜しょうゆ soy sauce.
From the Kashimo 加子母 area.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

inago no tsukudani いなごの佃煮 simmered grashoppers


kanten ryoori 寒天料理 agar-agar dishes
From Yamaoka Town 恵那市山岡町
Made since the beginning of the Showa period in winter, because the area is very cold but does not have much snow.
天然細寒天 is used to prepare kaiseki dishes.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

karasumi wagashi からすみ(和菓子) sweets
Eastern Mino Region 東美濃地方
Made from rice flour and sugar. Often for the Boy's festival in May.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

keichan けいちゃん / 鶏ちゃん chicken dishes
keichan is a kind word for chicken. The meat was pickled in miso and then fried with cabbage and other vegetables.
From Hida. Now there are also keichan dishes with soy sauce.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

koi no arai 鯉の洗い carp sashimi
koi koku 鯉コク
and other carp dishes, cut to sashimi pieces and washed in cold water
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

komodoofu no nitsuke こも豆腐の煮付け boiled "komo" tofu
Tofu was wrapped in straw and bound tightly as a food to keep.
From Hida, a festival food prepared for many people
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

kuri kinton, kurikinton 栗きんとん sweets from sweet chestnuts
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
From the Eastern parts of Gifu. Sweet chestnuts are cooked and sived (gesiebt), then sugar is added and they are pressed with a cloth (chakin shibori 茶巾絞り, mit einem Tuch geformte Paste) to give them a special pattern.
They are well liked by poets and enjoyed with a cup of green tea.

kuri okowa, kuri-okowa 栗おこわ steamed rice with csweet hestnuts
From Hida
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
.... also gyuu okowa 牛おこわ with Hida gyuu Beef from Hida 飛騨牛

kuwanokimame 桑の木豆おこわ okowa rice with beans
kuwa no ki mame 桑の木豆 (くわのきまめ) is a kind of green beans (ingenmame). kuwa no ki is the mulberry tree, grown to provide food for the silk worms. The beans were grown at the foot of these trees. The beans were dried with the shells and then eaten with the pod.
From 美山町. The area was famous for silk production

ingenmame, ingen mame 隠元豆 haricot beans, Schminkbohne


Meihoo hamu 明宝ハム / メイホウハム bacon from Meiho
Since Showa 28, made from local pork meat.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Meihoo tomato kechappu 明宝レディース
トマトケチャップ Tomato Ketchup from Meiho
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
From very sweet Momotaro Tomatoes.

from Gujo Hachiman Town 郡上八幡特

This looks almost like a little Daruma to me.

Meiho Ham / 明宝ハム


Mino yomenasubi 美濃よめなすび
eggplanst from Mino "for the bride"
CLICK for more photosTakatomi village 高富町 is famous for its eggplants.
A kind of sweet to go with green tea.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

WKD : Eggplant, aubergine (nasu) ... a KIGO

nasu no misoni 茄子の味噌煮
eggplant boiled in miso
Eggplants are first fried in oil, then dashi, sugar and miso is added for simmering. Some like it really sweet, it is a "Mother's taste".


myoogabochi みょうがぼち mochi wrapped in Japanese ginger
from the Northern part of the province
made from wheat and braod beans
bochi is the local dialect for mochi.
The simple moche were wrapped in a leaf of Japanese ginger (myooga).

renkon katsudon れんこんカツ丼 cotelette with lotus root on rice
with fresh lotus root from the area and local pork

sasanoko ryoori ささの子料理
dishes with sasa babmoo grass sprouts
prepared in May and June to last for the whole year.
From Hida, vegetarian dish.

shinazuke しな漬け pickles from red turnips
benikabu 紅カブ red turnips, mixed with eggplants, cucumbers, myooga ginger and mushrooms. They have to pickle for about 1 month before eating.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !


Takayama senbei 高山せんべい / 高山煎餅
rice crackers from Takayama
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

tooganjiru とうがん汁 / 冬瓜汁 wax gourd soup
WASHOKU : toogan, wax gourd, white gourd-melon

warabi shiruko わらび汁粉 sweet soup with fern
warabi no ohitashi わらびのおひたし simmered fern
warabi 蕨汁(わらび)bracken

zaigo ryoori 在郷(ざいご)料理/ 在郷料理 vegetarian temple food
From Hida, Furukawa 飛騨古川
Prepared as vegetarian food for meetings of the Pure Land Sect of Shinran, HoonKo 報恩講料理 in memory of the founder Shinran
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

. Furukawa Drum Festival
古川の起し太鼓 okoshi daiko


tsukudani no inago to natte hige o kosu

to make tsukudani
out of grashoppers ...
strain the whiskers 

Ishida Tokiji 石田時次


CLICK for more photos

ayugashi o hoshigaru ane ni okuritsutsu

I keep sending
sweetfish cakes to my older sister
who likes them so much

Suiren 水蓮


Takayama ya hanami tsuide no tera mairi

Oh Takayama !
enjoying the cherry blossoms
and a temple visit

Kobayashi Issa

And we have
Takayama Village History and Folk Custom Museum
close by is the
Issa Yukari-no Sato Museum / Museum in memory of Issa

read the discussion here,
Issa was most probably in Hida-Takayama.
Issa and Takayama

Related words

Insects as food (konchuu ryoori 昆虫料理)

***** WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes

***** . Folk Toys from Gifu .


1 comment:

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Matsunoo Taisha 松尾大社 Matsunoo Grand Shrine
Matsuno'o Taisha
sake brewing