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Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Cherry Blossoms at Gifu Gokoku Shrine

This year the cherry blossoms reached peak bloom a lot earlier than usual in Gifu City. I just had to pick up my camera and head out to explore some of my favourite sakura spots in Gifu. First up is Gifu Gokoku Shrine which is close to the Nagara River.

Gifu Gokoku Shrine is a Shinto shrine located at the base of Mount Kinka near Gifu Park in Gifu City. The shrine is dedicated to the residents of Gifu Prefecture who have died in wars since the Meiji Restoration in 1868.


Plans to construct the shrine were made after the Russo-Japanese War ended in 1905, but actual construction did not start until 1939 and was completed in 1940. 

The Entrance to Gifu Gokoku Shrine

Cherry Blossoms

Gifu Gokoku Shrine is known for its sakura (cherry blossoms) in spring. There are a few cherry blossom trees in the shrine’s precincts, but the best spot is along the road just outside the shrine leading to the Nagara Bridge, where you can catch the beautiful blossoms with amazing views of the Nagara River as well as the shrine architecture. 

Cherry Blossoms at Gifu Gokoku Shrine

Stone Lantern and Cherry Blossoms at Gifu Gokoku Shrine

Shrine Gate and Cherry Blossoms

The shrine is also famous for its ukai-zakura cherry blossom tree, which is one of the earliest bloomers in Gifu City. The large tree was planted over 100 years ago and is about 8 meters tall. The stunning tree received its name (ukai-zakura) because it is said that its blossoms can predict the amount of ayu (sweet fish) caught during the upcoming ukai (cormorant fishing) season. A bumper bloom means a lot of delicious ayu and a good ukai season.

The tree hadn’t quite reached peak bloom during my visit on March 26, 2021, but still looked beautiful anyway. 

Ukai Zakura at Gifu Gokoku Shrine

Cherry Blossoms at Gifu Gokoku Shrine

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