Kawaramachi – one of the few standing districts of Oda Nobunaga’s former castle town
Located alongside the shores of Nagara River, the district town of Kawaramachi was a paradise for all merchants, owing its prosperity to the open-trade policy, known as Rakuichi Rakuza, enacted by Warring States General Nobunaga Oda. It is now the base of the Gifu City Cormorant Fishing Viewing Boat Office and the Boarding Platform. During the summer months, visitors can have a peek at the living testimony of traditional Ukai (cormorant fishing) culture that began 1300 years ago, on board a sightseeing boat. The fishermen who fish using u (cormorant birds) and Kagari-bi (flames) in the night were conferred the official title of Usho (Cormorant Fishing Master) by Nobunaga Oda.
Gifu City Cormorant Fishing Viewing Boat Shipyard - a rare opportunity to observe the work-in-progress of boat craftmanship
Only one sightseeing boat for watching Ukai is constructed by the hand of a skilled boat craftsman each year at this viewing boat shipyard, a short walk away from the boarding platform. This is where you can discover more about the history of Ukai fishing culture, Ukai boat craftsmanship and the steps involved in the construction of a sightseeing boat. Very few boats nowadays are built in the way of traditional craftsmanship. It is still worth a stop-over!
Kawaramachi Izumiya – a restaurant dedicated to serving scrumptious Ayu (sweetfish) cuisine
Designated as one of the Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems, Ayu, which inhabits the pristine waters of the Nagara River System is a vital part of the region’s livelihood and food culture. One place to experience Ayu cuisine at its finest is none other than Kawaramachi Izumiya. The Ayu Ramen Gozen is a highly appraised lunch set that comes with an exquisite appetiser dish, consisting of funazushi, Ayu rillete, and Italian Grissini baked with Ayu bones. The highlight of this meal is an extraordinary bowl of Ramen in a refreshingly savoury Ayu broth topped with a delicious charcoal-grilled Ayu which can be eaten whole (including the bones). At Izumiya, there are also many Ayu-related food products that one can buy home should one come to fancy this local specialty.
Ryokusuian Kawaramachi – a petite Wagashi shop with Gifu’s iconic Ayugashi
Just like Kyoto is known for its Yatsuhashi, Gifu also has a Wagashi (Japanese sweets) to call its own – the Ayugashi. With its decent selection of dessert treats, Ryokusuian makes a perfect respite from being out and about exploring Kawaramachi. What stands out is Ayugashi: a castella (sponge cake) in the adorable shape of an Ayu with sweet filling in a few flavours such as strawberry and persimmon.
Guesthouse Kiten – A cosy place of stay close to the heart of Gifu’s cultural district
Upon arriving at Guesthouse Kiten, you will be welcomed by the vibes of Japanese modern aesthetics and what’s fascinating is that the interior is designed entirely by the good-humoured owner and his guest volunteers. At Kiten, apart from comfort, it is also where travellers of different backgrounds cross paths and share an intimate social moment, only for a reasonable price starting at 3,500 yen (dormitory bed).
Access to Kawaramachi (provided by Gifu Convention and Visitors Bureau)
Take one of the following buses at JR Gifu Station or Meitetsu Gifu Station to “Nagara Bridge”. (takes 15 min, 210 yen/one way)
• Gifu Bus “N80 Bound for Takatomi”
• Other Gifu Bus numbered “N32” to “N86” bound for Gifu Park /Takatomi direction
• “City Loop-line” Counterclockwise direction Get off and walk 5 minutes.
For official information, please refer to this website:
Gifu Convention and Visitors Bureau