The famous castle for Dosan Saito and Nobunaga Oda
The soaring Gifu Castle is located on the top of the rocky Mt. Kinka. Once known as an impregnable fortress, Gifu Castle was the source of the saying “To control Mino Province (now Gifu Prefecture) is to control Japan”. During the Warring States Era, the castle was the home to Dosan Saito, the protagonist of the novel “Kunitori Monogatari” (The Tale of Acquiring Countries), but in 1567, Nobunaga Oda captured the castle and became its new lord. The vicinity of I-no-Kuchi was renamed Gifu by Oda who also changed the name of Inabayama Castle to Gifu Castle. The current form of the castle was restored in 1956 and is a ferroconcrete structure of 3 levels and 4 floors. There is a historical museum inside the castle and an observation deck on the top floor which are popular with many visitors. From sundown to 10 pm at night, the entire castle is lit up. A wondrous spectacle can be enjoyed as the pure white castle seems to float in the darkness.
Seeing all the way to Ise Bay from the observation deck
Among the current castles of Japan, Gifu Castle occupies a proud place at an altitude of 329m. The keep which is on the top floor is popular for the grand 360-degree view from its observation deck. A splendid view can be had of Mt. Ena and Mt. Kiso Mitake to the east with Mt. Norikura and the Japanese Alps to the north. In the west, there are the Ibuki, Yoro and Suzuka mountain ranges, and in the south, you can get a fine view of the Kiso River flowing quietly into Ise Bay. In addition, during the seasonal nighttime hours for the castle, you can get a perspective that is different from that during the daytime, in which you can enjoy a glitteringly beautiful night view which appears as if a jewel box was opened and flipped over.
Ride the ropeway for easy access to Gifu Castle
You can choose between walking up the mountain trail on Mt. Kinka to reach Gifu Castle at the top or you can use the Mt. Kinka Ropeway from Gifu Park (separate fee is required). Since the trail up the mountain is fairly steep, the ropeway is recommended for those who don’t quite have the stamina. It takes about 3 minutes to reach the peak. From the glass-enclosed gondola, you can get that panoramic view of sites such as Mt. Kinka enveloped in natural forest, the scenic beauty of the Nagara River and the city of Gifu. In the vicinity of the ropeway’s mountaintop station, there is a restaurant where you can enjoy meals while admiring the superb view and Squirrel Village, a hit with the kids, where you can play with the adorable squirrels. You should visit these places while having that tour of the castle.