Introduction to Gero City 

Gero City is located in the central-eastern part of Gifu Prefecture, bordering Takayama City to the north, Kamo County to the south, Gujo City and Seki City to the west, and Nakatsugawa City and Nagano Prefecture to the east. It was formed in March 2004 through the merger of five towns and villages in Masuda County (Osaka Town, Hagiwara Town, Gero Town, Maze Village, and Kanayama Town). 

The total area is 851.21 km2, of which about 90% is mountain forest. The Hida River runs through almost the center of the city to the south, and the clear Maze River flows to the west. It is an area rich in nature and rich in biodiversity. 

The altitude difference in the city is 2,800m, and the lava from volcanoes such as Mt.Ontake forms a complex topography, creating a variety of beautiful landscapes and a diversity of vegetation, including forests on the border between the warm temperate zone and the cool temperate zone (transition zone). 

Mt.Ontake, the Japanese endemic dormouse that lives in larch forests, the giant salamander of Mazegawa River that is said to be a "living fossil," the weeping cherry of Takehara whose branches grow downward, and the kaya tree of Tamaryuji whose seeds curl to the left, there are countless natural resources such as precious animals and plants that must be preserved for future generations. 

In addition, the city has long been home to valuable highways, and along one such highway, the Hida Kaido, a number of inn towns were formed and are still dotted with valuable cultural resources. 

The area is also home to famous hot spring resorts such as Gero Onsen, one of Japan's "Three Famous Hot Springs" with a history of over 1,000 years, and Hida Ozaka Onsen Resort, which is designated as a national recreational hot spring resort. With approximately 1.1 million overnight visitors throughout the year, it is one of the leading tourist destinations in Japan.

【Three Basic Policies】 

  • Basic Policy 1: Environmental Aspects Gero City aims to create a sustainable tourist town by preserving, utilizing, and passing on its rich natural and cultural resources, which are rich in biodiversity.
  • Basic Policy 2: Economic Aspects Develop a wide variety of eco-tours and experience programs, and aim to establish overnight stay eco-tourism. 
  • Basic Policy 3: Social Aspects Citizens work together for environmental and tourism education, and aim to develop human resources for guiding and fostering hospitality.

Cultural information Gero City

Gero City has customs and culture unique to the region, and two amateur “Kabuki” plays continue to be performed regularly every year, attracting many visitors.

  • “Hakuunza” (Monwasa Stage: Designated by the national government as a tangible folk cultural property) Regular performance: November 2 and 3 every year 
  • “Hououza” (8 scripts of village plays and plays of the time: Designated by the prefecture as important tangible cultural properties and important folklore materials) Regular performance: May 3 and 4 
  • “Ta-no-gami Festival” “Ta-no-gami Festival”is a regular festival of the Morimizunashi Hachiman Shrine known as the festival that heralds spring in the Hida region, and is said to be based on the “dengaku performance” that has been performed since the Middle Ages as a prelude to a good harvest of rice. Every year around this time, each hatsugumi (hats with donated hats) are made, and local youths practice the lion dance. Thus, the festival is solemnly held, beginning with the "Shinto priest's request ceremony" on February 7 and ending with the "main music and dance festival" on February 14. 
  •  “Gero Hometown History Memorial Museum” The museum is open from 9:00 to 17:00 (last admission 16:30) (*From December to February, the museum closes at 16:30 (last admission 16:00). On the first floor, special exhibitions and a public gallery are held regularly, and a hands-on room for handmade accessories, etc. is available. On the second floor, the permanent exhibition features historical materials from primitive and ancient times to the present day. 
  •  “Gero Onsen Museum” It is a museum specializing in hot springs, which is rare in Japan. The museum consists of five corners: "Science of Hot Springs," "Culture of Hot Springs," "Welcome to Gero Onsen," "Room of the Hot Spring Doctor," and "Funny Hot Spring Challenge." But there are exhibits that are fun and easy to understand. The museum is open from 9:00 to 17:00, admission fee is 400 yen for adults (junior high school students and older), 200 yen for children (elementary school students), 10% discount for groups of 10 or more).
  • “Iou Reizan Onsenji” This is a temple that enshrines “Yakushi Nyorai”(one of Buddha), a white heron legend passed down in Gero Onsen. It is said that when the spring dried up, a white heron, an incarnation of “Yakushi Nyorai”, announced a new source. Valuable books that describe the history of hot springs are also left, and many worshipers visit throughout the year. Every year in mid-November, during the fall foliage season, the park is lit up from sunset to 9:00 pm. 
  • “Gero Onsen Gassho Village” As the name implies, the “Gero Onsen Gassho Villag” is a museum featuring 10 gassho-style houses that have been relocated from “Shirakawa-go” and other areas. The village is also home to a Hida workshop where visitors can try their hand at making ceramics and Japanese paper, bringing the Hida way of life to life. The museum is open from 8:30 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:00 on December 31, January 1, and 2). Admission is 800 yen for adults and 400 yen for elementary and junior high school students (720 yen for adults and 360 yen for children in groups of 30 or more). Other facilities in the village include the “Enku-kan Museum”, which exhibits information on “Enku”, a Buddhist monk, “the Gassho footbath”, and the “Takehara Bunraku Memorial Hall”, which displays dolls left behind by the founder of the “Takehara Bunraku puppet theater”. As for restaurants, there is "Ichikura," popular for its char-grilled river fish, "Gassho Chaya," a noodle restaurant, and "Bankoan," a teahouse in the “Saijiki-no-Mori forest forest”. In the Saijiki-no-Mori forest, visitors can enjoy a water mill house, an earthen storehouse, a frog shrine, terraced rice paddies, and a walking trail around the park, as well as a 175-meter forest slide to experience the changing of the seasons.

Transport to Gero City

Gero City can be reached by car or public transportation. It takes about 1 hour and 20 to 40 minutes from the Tokyo metropolitan area to Nagoya Station by Tokaido Shinkansen, and another 1 hour and 40 minutes by limited express Hida (Tokaido Main Line and Takayama Main Line). From Central Japan International Airport (Centrair), takes about 2 hours by train, making it easy to get there whenever you feel like it.


What’s good to eat in Gero City

At Gero Onsen, healthy limited edition original sweets using local ingredients, "Beauty Bare skin Sweets", are popular.

  • “Kei Chan”, a Local Cuisine of Gero. Chicken meat marinated in soy sauce or miso-based sauce is grilled and served with cabbage and other vegetables. It is served at restaurants or sold in packets at stores, making it easy to enjoy.
  • “Gin-no-Mikiri” and “Ryu-no-Hitomi” brand rice Characterized by its luster and chewy texture, this rice is delicious both when cooked and when cold. “Gin-no-Mikki” has been selected as rice presented to the Imperial Household.
  • “Hoba miso” It is a local dish in which seasonings such as green onions and shiitake mushrooms are grilled on a dry magnolia leaf and eaten with sugar-flavored miso. It is also a delicious way to eat fish, mushrooms, and Hida beef together.
  • “Hida Beef” and “Natto Eater Pork” -Hida beef, a Japanese brand of beef raised in Gifu Prefecture, is characterized by its refined fat, and Hida pork, a brand of pork raised on natto (fermented soybeans), is also widely eaten in Gero City. In addition to the traditional ways of eating Hida beef, such as yakiniku and steak, some restaurants also offer meat sushi.
  • Ayu (sweetfish) from Maze River Ayu from the Maze River is famous for its taste, aroma, and shape. In 2007, it won the grand champion title at the “National Ayu Auctioneering Competition in Tokyo”. This competition was held to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the National Tasting Ayu Championship in Kochi Prefecture, where the national champion was chosen from the 17 rivers of the calendar year champion and sub-champion of the same competition. Ayu raised on a diet of high-quality moss are also called “aromatic fish,” and give off a sweet aroma similar to that of watermelon. Its halitosis is sweet with a hint of bitterness. Ayu can be enjoyed grilled in salted water or simmered in sweetened soy sauce at various restaurants in the city.
  • Tenryo Sake Brewery: The Tenryo Sake Brewery was established in 1680 and is designated as a national tangible cultural property. The brewery brews sake with the concept of "food sake" using "Hidahomare," Hida's best rice for sake brewing, and naturally sterile underground water. The brewery also offers a "My Doburoku(unrefined sake) Making Experience," which requires reservations, so please be sure to try it as a memorable part of your trip.
  • Okuhida Sake Brewery:  Okuhida Shuzo is a long-established sake brewery that celebrated its 300th anniversary in 1720. The brewery offers a wide selection of sake, shochu, vodka, and original sweets under the "Okuhida" and "Hatsuroroku" brands. The store is 200 years old and has been designated as a Gifu Prefecture Street Art Museum
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    Information about accommodation in Gero City

    There are about 50 Ryokan(Japanese accommodation)/hotels with various characteristics in Gero City.

    Tips for staying in Gero City 

    The footbath "fountain pond" is located in Shirasagi Green Park in Gero Onsen. You can enjoy the source of the spring water while listening to the murmuring of the Hida River amidst a sense of freedom. There are other places to enjoy footbaths in Gero Onsen, and we recommend strolling through the Gero Onsen district while eating. A towel to wipe your feet is useful for this purpose.


    Some suggested tours to experience in Gero City 

    • Hiking in the forest on the lava plateau and tour around Osaka Falls 

    Period: Mid-April to mid-November

    Description: Visitors can feel the nature and historical stories of the lava plateau, which is made up of lava flows from Mt. In the waterfall tour, you can feel the negative ions from the waterfalls by diving into the waterfall basin and shower climbing. 

    • Osaka Winter Waterfall Tour

    Period: Late January to mid-March 

    Description: A world of ice and snow in the depths of the earth. As you walk through the quiet forest, huge icicles suddenly appear. The tour will take you to the mysterious and breathtaking scenery. 

    • Maze Satoyama Museum Guided Tour 

    Period: Full year 

    Description: Guided tours of the rural landscape and the culture of everyday life, using it as an open-air museum. 

    • Hida Highway "Hagiwara-juku Historical Tour" and Town Walking Tour 

    Period: For all year round 

    Description: This guided tour takes visitors on a stroll through the streets of Hagiwara-juku on the Hida-Kaido Highway, visiting the Tenryo Sake Brewery and a local Japanese sweets shop, Where they can enjoy the tastes of local culinary artisans and learn about the uprisings that occurred from the Edo period to the Meiji Restoration.

    • Hida-kaido Kanayama-juku "Kinkotsu" Tour 

    Period: Year-round 

    Description: "Kinkotsu" means “alleyway”. You can enjoy strolling through the inn town, which is still used as a living space for the people living there

    Entertainment in Gero City

    • "Gero Onsen Ideyu Morning Market” Stores selling vegetables, processed foods, local sake, folk crafts, etc. line the streets, offering a variety of local specialties at reasonable prices. The market is open from early March to early December from 8:00 a.m. to noon. 
    • Nawashiro Cherry Blossom Light-up Located in the Wasa district, about 20 minutes from downtown Gero, it is a natural monument designated by the prefecture and one of the 33 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Hida Mino. The blooming season is from early to mid-April. The tree is said to be about 400 years old and is illuminated during the blooming period. 
    • Summer Festival in Gero Onsen", a summer tradition in Gero Held every year from mid-July to late August along the Atano Valley in Gero Onsen, the festival is lively with bazaars and stage events organized by local volunteers. The festival is held every Saturday, with different stores and events each week, so you can enjoy the festival many times during the festival period. ○Gero Onsen Festival
    • The Gero Onsen Festival is held in the Gero Onsen district from August 1 to 4. On August 1, the Ryujin Fire Festival, in which five dragons parade in a heroic manner, will be held. On August 2, mikoshi (portable shrine) and samba parades, Gero Odori dance and folk song performances will be held. On August 3, there will be an Onsen Thanksgiving Festival, a summer performance of the Gero Onsen Fireworks Musical, and the Gero Odori dance, and a day full of excitement. On August 4, a special performance day of the Summer Festival will be held. 
    • Gero Onsen Carnival This event is held at Shirasagi Green Park, where visitors can enjoy Hida beef, rice, and other Gero specialties at great prices. The festival is usually held in mid-October, and on the day of the festival, a footbath corner is set up, kitchen car gourmet food is served, and live events are also held. 
    • Gero Onsen Fireworks Musical Winter Performance Every Saturday through December 24, fireworks will be shot off at Shirasagi Green Park, and on the 24th, a special performance will be held with extended hours. The time is 20:00-20:10 (20:00-20:30 for the special performance). The Fireworks Musical is also performed in summer and is held on August 3 during the "Gero Onsen Festival. 
    • "Love & Peace Candle Illumination in Gero Onsen". Period: December 24, 16:00-21:00 About 10,000 LED bulbs will decorate the parapet and about 3,000 candles will illuminate the surrounding area. There will also be a wish-writing corner, stage events, bonfires, and goods distribution for visitors of all ages to enjoy. On the same day, a special performance of "Gero Onsen Fireworks Musical Winter Performance" will also be held and fireworks can be seen.
    • Winter Gero Onsen Fireworks Story Every Saturday from January to March, a different themed fireworks display is held along the Hida River, downstream from the Gero Ohashi Bridge, with a different presentation for each season. The time is from 20:30 to 20:40.

    Best Things to do in Gero City

    In Gero City, which has Hida Kisogawa Quasi-National Park and Gifu Prefectural Nature Park, you can experience a tour of waterfalls in Gandate Park, a walking tour of the Hida Highway, and an eco-tour that makes the most of nature and satoyama. And, you can also enjoy the Ryokan(Japanese Accommodation) and hot springs of Gero Onsen, one of Japan's top three hot springs, and Hida Kosaka Onsen, which is designated as a national hot spring resort.