Gifu and Nagoya

So last time was a bit rushed. Anyways, please see the previous post for those pictures. So Gifu is one of eight landlocked prefectures in Japan, famous for its mountains and rolling valleys. What amazed me the most about Gifu was its natural beauty. Everything was a very vibrant color: green, blue, etc. The culture within Gifu has remained mostly intact because there is very little modernization outside of Gifu City. Thus, what we were able to experience was Japan at its core.

Nagoya, on the other hand, is a rapidly modernizing city that thrives on the nearby auto industry as well as its port. Although it’s the third largest city in Japan, it didn’t feel that large, and it was very easy to get around. It was also a very friendly city, unlike say New York or Boston. Within this very modern city are many shrines and parks, showing that the people still hold with them their cultural roots in spite of rapid modernization.


Nagano, like Gifu, is one of the eight landlocked prefectures. It’s most famous for the Japanese Alps as well as having hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. What separates Nagano from Gifu is the size and nature of its mountains. What makes Gifu special is its lush, picturesque rolling valleys, while the sheer size of Nagano’s mountains is what makes it special. I was extremely impressed by the natural beauty of Nagano as well. Anyways, we first climbed to the top of a mountain, and then visited various shrines along the way to Nagano. We stopped at Matsumoto, a small mountain city, and visited Matsumoto Castle. Finally, we went to the small town of Matsushiro and walked through its back roads and alleys to visit various shrines, gardens, and an underground tunnel network used in WWII. Pictures are as follows.

What has started as a cultural experience trip is quickly turning into a natural beauty trip. I’m amazed at Japan’s natural beauty. Although the culture is still the main aspect of this trip, you can’t help but admire all the great scenes here. Anyways, it’s back to the classroom on Wednesday. Look forward to an Osaka/Kyoto trip this weekend. As always, pictures are here:

By the way, I found two towel dispensers. One was at a WESTERN hotel and another was at an Irish (WESTERN) pub. So Japanese don’t use paper towel dispensers. Who knew?