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Friday, April 23, 2021

Cherry Blossoms at Gifu Park in Gifu City

Next spot on my list of cherry blossom spots in Gifu City was Gifu Park, which is a short walk from the Japan and China Friendship Garden. Gifu Park is a public park located at the foot of Mount Kinka, a symbol of Gifu City along with Gifu Castle. It is a popular rest spot for local residents and tourists.

The park used to the home to samurai warlord, Oda Nobunaga’s (1534-1582) impressive palace, which was called heaven on earth by Portuguese Jesuit Missionary, Luis Frois (1532-1597). The palace was called Senjo-jiki (one-thousand tatami mats) and was so large that it covered about two-thirds of the present day park. A castle town was developed by Nobunaga around the base of the mountain. 

Cherry blossoms at Gifu Park

The wide spacious park is home to many cherry blossom trees

At the top of Mount Kinka is Gifu Castle, an impressive fortress that was first built over 800 years ago. The modern castle is a reconstruction, which you can reach by one of the seven main hiking trails, or a quick ride on a cable car.

The park is surrounded by beautiful nature and is home to several different types of cherry blossom trees. 

Cherry blossoms close up

A different type of cherry blossom

Gifu Park has been selected as one of Japan’s “Top 100 Public Historical Parks.”

The beauty of spring at Gifu Park


Sunday, April 18, 2021

Cherry Blossoms at the Japan and China Friendship Garden

Next spot on my sakura hunting mission was the Japan and China Friendship Garden which is located between Gifu Gokoku Shrine and Gifu Park. This is definitely one of my favourite sakura spots in Gifu City day or night with a mixture of different cherry blossom trees.


It is a popular spot for hanami (cherry blossom viewing parties) and is especially picturesque in the evening when the sun starts to go down.

The garden was created in 1999 to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the friendship and affiliation between Gifu City in Japan and Hangzhou in China. It was also created to further improve the often fragile relationship between these two nations. 

Pavilion and Ornamental Pond

The Entrance to the Garden

The garden is laid out in classic Chinese style with a keyhole gate, ornamental pond, bridge and pavilion. Inside the garden is a pond modeled after West Lake, a famous spot in Hangzhou, and some interesting looking Chinese architecture including a Hangzhou gate and a pair of guardian lions. The beautiful pond and garden have been created to reflect the stunning scenery of the four seasons in Gifu. 

Keyhole Gate to the Garden

Guardian Lion

When I visited on March 26. 2021, the somei yoshino cherry blossom trees were at peak bloom, but the shidarezakura (weeping cherry blossoms) were about a week from their peak. 

The Japan and China Friendship Garden at Gifu Park


Sunday, April 11, 2021

Cherry Blossoms along the Nagara River in Gifu

The second spot on my sakura hunting mission were the beautiful cherry blossoms along the banks of the Nagara River just outside of Gifu Gokoku Shrine in Gifu City.

The Nagara River, which is a beloved symbol of Gifu City along with Mount Kinka and Gifu Castle, flows through the city with its source starting in Gujo, a picturesque riverside town in the mountains north of Gifu City. The river is famous for being one of Japan’s “Three Clear-Flowing Rivers”, as well as being named one of Japan’s top “100 Bodies of Water”.

Cherry blossoms along the Nagara River


The ancient art of ukai (cormorant fishing) has a history of over 1,300 years, and takes place from May 11 to October 15 every year along the Nagara River in Gifu City. There are only twelve places in all of Japan where you can see ukai, with the cormorant fishing masters on the Nagara River, the only ones granted the title of “Imperial Fisherman of the Household Agency.” 

Cherry blossoms with the ukai viewing boats


There are about 400 somei yoshino cherry blossom trees along the south bank of the Nagara River, which become pretty in pink during spring. 


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