Gujo Odori / 郡上おどり

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Gujo Odori Dance Festival

Gujō Odori (郡上おどり) is a *Bon Festival held every summer in Gujō, Gifu. The dance festival — Gujō Odori — started over 400 years ago and continues today; it has been designated an *Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property.

The festival lasts thirty-two nights, from the middle of July to early September. During the four days of Obon in mid-August (August 13 to 16), dances continue all night. Gujō Odori has 10 kinds of dances.

There is no difference between the dancers and the audience, anyone can participate; therefore the dances attract many visitors. About 250,000 people during the four days of Obon and about 300,000 people every summer come to this small town, which has a population about 15,000 in Gujō Hachiman district, for the odori.

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Visit Gujo Hachiman (map) and you can expect to be immersed in an authentic small town Japanese experience unique to an “off the beaten path” town. Here the traditional way of living is on a very human scale. People passing each other in the street still greet each other with a small bow, and exchange a passing greeting.

+ Download our free self-guided visit with detailed map in PDF format to plan your visit to Gujo Hachiman!

The Nakasendo trail cuts through the entire region from on its way from Nagano to Shiga, leaving many preserved buildings and historic sites scattered around the former post towns.

+ The Inner Path to the Inner Self: Walking the Nakasendo |

*Oku-Hida Onsen Villages (map) are a group of 5 remote hot spring villages, nestled deep in the *Japan Alps of Gifu Prefecture. Every village has an open-air bath (露天風呂 rotenburo) open to the public for free or a token fee. Note that these are communal and mixed, ladies wishing to retain their modesty may wish to bring a bathing suit.

Being located in the heart of the northern Japan Alps, there are copious opportunities for hiking in the area, but do your research beforehand as many of the mountains are quite tough and the climbing season is very short — many peaks will still be covered in snow in June. A popular, if fairly challenging, three-day course is to scale all three peaks listed below in a row, crossing over from Oku-Hida to Kamikochi (or vice versa).

Public transport

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Transit Planner | Route Map

For sorting through transport schedules and fares, HyperDia is an invaluable companion; it computes to-the-minute directions including connecting trains, as well as buses and planes.

+ Transportation in Japan (

 BUS >   Gifu BusNohi Bus. Buses are plentiful in Japan, and over the last few decades they have evolved into a major mode of intercity transportation, especially for overnight travel. Major operators of intercity include • WILLER • JR Bus ( • >> (*Bus travel in Japan)

 RAIL >   MEITETSU (Nagoya Railroad) • Nagaragawa Railway • Tarumi RailwayAkechi RailwayYoro Railway / Central Japan Railway CompanyWest Japan Railway CompanyEast Japan Railway Company. >> (*Rail travel in Japan)

 AIRPORTS >   Most international flights arrive at either Narita Airport near Tokyo or Kansai Airport near Osaka; a smaller number use Chubu International Airport near Nagoya.

Japan has many great opportunities for bikers. Bike rentals can be found throughout the country, especially near popular routes. Some routes (like the Shimanami Kaido Bikeway, which takes you from Onomichi on the main island to *Imabari in Shikoku) have been set up specifically for bikers.

Aomori – Hokkaido

Inland Sea (Seto Naikai)

Kagoshima – Okinawa/Yakushima

  • Kagoshima – Amami-Oshima – Naha: A Line and Marix Line (26 hours, 14,610 yen)
  • Kagoshima – Yakushima: the Yaku-2 ferry departs every morning (4 hours, 4,800 yen) or there is the high-speed Toppy jetfoil (from 2 hours, 8,800 yen).

Sendai/Niigata – Tomokomai