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.