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Gifu: Gifu Castle

Located in the city of Gifu in Gifu Prefecture, Gifu Castle (岐阜城is a mountaintop castle that stands as one of the symbols of the city. 

Built by the Nikaido clan during the Kamakura Period sometime between 1201 to 1204, Gifu Castle was once called Inabayama Castle by its original owners. It was a formidable castle which overlooks the surrounding countryside of then Mino Province. On September 13, 1567, the castle and its defenders under the leadership of Saito Tatsuoki of the Saito Clan came under siege by the numerically superior army of Oda Nobunaga. 
Gifu Castle as displayed at Mt. Kinka Ropeway Station
Make sure to get some brochures at Kinkazan Ropeway Station

We rode the ropeway up Mt. Kinka

Despite its strategical and strong position on top of Mt. Inaba, the castle still fell to the hands of Oda Nobunaga due to his cunning strategy of sending in sixteen men to sneak into the castle to open its gates. The got in via the very steep but unguarded northern face of the mountain. This strategy ended the siege in just two weeks. 

Entering the first torii from the mountaintop station going to the castle

Finally! We could see the Castle Keep after several minutes of walking.

Oda Nobunaga claimed the castle and renamed it "Gifu Castle". The mountain was also renamed to Mt. Kinka. The castle was then had it renovated into a more grandiose structure. Nobunaga was very satisfied with how impressive his castle has become that he even invited Fr. Luis Frois, a renowned Jesuit missionary, to visit the castle. The priest had nothing but praises for the beauty of the castle. 
Gifu Castle as seen from the clearing on Mt. Kinka
Close up of the castle keep

The castle was then made into the primary base-of-operations of the Oda Clan. Sadly, the castle was destroyed in 1600 during the fierce battle between the Western and Eastern forces which became the prelude to the well-known Battle of Sekigahara. What remained of the castle structure was brought south to Kano Castle to help fortify its position leaving Mt. Kinka free of any castle structures for more than three centuries. 
Time to enter the castle

A model castle was reconstructed in 1910 during the Meiji Period but burnt down during the firebombing raid of 1943. The castle that stands today was built in 1956 during the Showa Period. It received its first major renovation in 1887 and celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2001. 
Check out the rates

The current castle stands from an elevation of 323 meters on the top of Mt. Kinka. It is 17.7 meters tall and is a 4-story structure. Gifu Castle houses many feudal era weapons, armors, and tools. From the top floor of the tower, visitors can see a beautiful panoramic view of the city. 

The view fo Gifu City from the viewing area of the castle

The view of the hills around the city
You can use this coin-operated binoculars to check out the places around the castle
Gifu Castle Museum
Inside the Gifu Castle Museum

Within the vicinity of the castle grounds is the Gifu Castle Museum which is a reconstruction of the weapon storage and food storage house. It was built in April 1975. Today, it houses displays of Gifu related documents which gives visitors a glimpse of Japan's warring period. To enter the castle keep and museum, visitors need to pay 200 yen for adults and 100 yen for children.


Here are some of the displays inside Gifu Castle:
Edo era tools

Edo era weapons
Nohime's kimono
Some pieces of the original roof and wall of the castle
Edo era helmets
Some samurai armor
Some shurikens

Some katanas and bows
The life of Oda Nobunaga


For those planning to visit Gifu Castle, you can follow one of the four trails up Mt. Kinka. If you're not the "hiker" type of person, then ride the Kinkazan Ropeway up to the mountain. It's 620 yen (adults) and 280 yen (children) for a one-way trip to the summit station of the ropeway. From the station, visitors should still trek several meters to reach the castle. 


Gifu Castle on top of Mt. Kinka

My family and I got to visit Gifu Castle during our 18th day in Japan. It was our first destination for the day. What made our trip there memorable was the fact that our Japanese godfather accompanied and toured us there. We also enjoyed the breathtaking view of the city from the top of the castle. Aside from that I also enjoyed checking out the historical artifacts displayed in the keep.
Neil Nobunaga...


... and his samurai warriors

Overall, the castle would surely be enjoyed by history buffs and also outdoor enthusiasts. Given a chance, I'd go back to the castle and hike up Mt. Kinka to experience how the warriors of the past lived their lives during Japan's feudal era.

Getting there:
From JR Gifu station, ride a bus and board down at Gifu Koen Mae bus stop. The ride takes about 15 minutes. From there walk to Mt. Kinka Ropeway Sanroku Station and ride the ropeway up to the Sancho Station then follow the path to Gifu Castle. It would take about 10-15 minutes to walk from Sancho Station to the keep.

Rating:
Crowd
Cleanliness
Overall rating

Comments

  1. This castle looks so amazing and cool! I will definitely visit this place!!

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    1. I'm happy to hear that Haroon. Please do visit Gifu Castle.

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  2. Thank you for the amazing photos. This is so cool.

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  3. This is going on my list of places to visit ! How amazing ! Thank you for all of the really great tips!

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  4. Absolutely have loved my travels to Japan, but I have not been to this city. The castle looks fascinating. Now I have an excuse to go back 😉

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    1. Please do Rudy! You'd surely fall in love with Gifu Precture as I did.

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  5. Wow! What an awesome site for tourists, imagine! Despite the fact that the Gifu castle has been built since 1201 to 1204 it's still looks clean and beautiful, great maintainance, Kudos to the Japanese heritage

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    1. The Japanese people really is into preservation. That's what I love about Japan. The temples and shrines there are well preserved despite being a thousand years old. =)

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  6. What an adventure. This looks like a place my husband would enjoy!

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    1. Please do bring your husband along for the adventure. He'd love Gifu Castle.

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  7. The scenery is amazing. I love the photo you have of the mountain.

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  8. I would love to visit this castle as I love the history of Castles in Japan. I have been tothe castles in Nagoya, Hikone, Osaka, and Nagano. I want to visit the one in Himeji someday.

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    1. Wow! I have never been to the castles of Nagoya, Hikone, and Nagano but I've been to Himeji already. =)

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  9. Amazing location! Thanks for sharing the story behind the castle.

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  10. This is so adventorous! my husband talks about going there all the time!

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  11. Wow I never get tired visiting many museums coz it's the only way to travel back in time. Thanks for sharing glimpse of Gifu.

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    1. That's why I love Japan. They have preserved a lot of their culture through museums and architecture. Please do visit Gifu City someday.

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  12. Gifu sounds interesting all together with a lot of activities

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    1. Yes it is. Please do include Gifu City to your places to visit =)

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  13. The ropeway must have been such a thrilling experience.

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    1. It is Vaishali. It's something worth experiencing.

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  14. The armor looked really interesting. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. It is. =) Please do visit Gifu Castle when you are in Gifu City. You'd surely love the historical displays.

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    2. This looks like an amazing place to visit and your pictures are so vivid!

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  15. You have done an amazing amount of travel in Japan. I am truly impressed by your journey. Great photos too.

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  16. great photos and very interesting

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  17. The structure of that building is gorgeous, I am always fascinated at some of the amazing buildings around the world.

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    Replies
    1. Same here. I really love seeing unique architectural designs from different places.

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  18. Sounds and looks so good. Must have been an awesome vacay for you. Would love to go there

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  19. It looks so beautiful! What an interesting place to visit with family

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  20. The views are stunning! I'm always in awe of such beautiful and historical experiences. Thank you for sharing!

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  21. That castle is beautiful!! I Love the colors of it !!

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    Replies
    1. Please do visit Gifu Castle when you have the chance.

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  22. How many stairs were it to get to the top? Looks like your kid climbed to the top as well! Looks like fun

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    1. Oh, I was not able to count but it was super fun even for my daughter!

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  23. I did not know about this place and thank you for sharing and let us know. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful.

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  24. Seems like a great place for a fun and educational day trip.

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  25. That rope way ride sounds adventurous.

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  26. Yet another addition to my travel list

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  27. What a stunning place to visit! Great idea for a travel destination.
    *Samantha- www.herjournalblog.com

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  28. What an interesting place! I love the story about how 16 men were sent in to open the gate.

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