Take a walk through the castle town which brings the atmosphere of the Edo Era
Gujo Hachiman was a prosperous castle town ruled by the Gujo branch of the Tokugawa clan. With an atmospheric townscape and 13 temples packed together within the narrow town, it has also been called the Little Kyoto of the Okumino region. The district of craftsmen and blacksmiths which includes the residences of artisans and mercantile houses has been nationally selected as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Even now, signs of old Edo can be felt all throughout the streets. If you feel tired from walking through the town, head for Gujo Hachiman Old Government Memorial Hall. A Western-style building which had been erected in 1936, it was used as the town hall until 1994. If you are sightseeing through Gujo, then this is a must-visit place for its tourist information office and souvenir shop on the 1st floor, and also for its small restaurant where you can catch a light meal and a rest area. You can also try out the Gujo Dance on the 2nd floor. Rental bicycles are also available.
Encounter a lifestyle of a town of water
The town is at the nexus of 3 rivers: upstream on the Nagara River with the Yoshida River coming down from the mountains of Okumino and the Kodara River; as such, Gujo Hachiman has also been called the Town of Water. In the center of the beautiful canals flowing through the town, there is the famous Yanakamizu-no-Komichi. Lined with stones transported from the Yoshida and Nagara Rivers, this quiet canal which runs along a street of willow trees is popular with the tourists. In addition, along the Igawa Komichi which is beside the Old Government Memorial Hall, there are 3 spots which are places to wash laundry so that you can see the daily lives of the residents there.
See signs of pioneers who knew how to use water efficiently all around town
When you walk around the town, you will most likely see water tanks built from wood and stone everywhere. These are called mizufune which make up a water usage system characteristic of Gujo Hachiman. Among the groupings of 2-3 tanks each which carry spring water, the first tank is used for drinking and washing food while the other tanks are used to wash items such as dirty dishes. Any remaining food is washed down into the pond to become food for the fish as the water is naturally purified and flows into the river. Even now, the system is used by many households within the town. Part of the system has been open to tourists to quench their thirst.