Alluring Central Japan

Japan, as we know it today, is the perfect mix of past, present and future. The proud nation has earned the world’s respect by drawing on its technological innovations to not only benefit but also play a huge role in the life of its people. Today, it is not a rare sight to see some form of artificial intelligence incorporated into the daily lives of the Japanese. 

However, the beauty of these advancements lies in how it leaves most of the Japanese traditions untouched. Through centuries of human advancement, the Land of the Rising Sun still boasts a multitude of natural and historical sites. Join us as we discover three history-steeped prefectures that promise you a trip back in time like no other.


Nagano Prefecture

The city of Matsumoto is found within the Nagano Prefecture. Here, you can find glorious ancient castles, wasabi farms, museums, and easy access to side trips such as the Japanese Alpine Route and the mountain resort Kamikochi. The Matsumoto City Museum of Art offers strong appeal to anyone creative. Its exhibitions tend to push the boundaries of visual and auditory experiences, creating an unforgettable few hours.  

The 500-year-old Matsumoto Castle


Keen on a good view? The Shinhotaka Ropeway is a massive cable car adventure climbing up the side of the Hotaka Mountain. It is unique as it takes passengers on a double-decker gondola car on one of the steepest elevation gains in the country for a ropeway. The journey consists of two different ropeways, the initial one used solely to bring passengers from the bus stop to Nabedaira Kogen. Here, visitors have the option to enjoy a public bath, have a feast at restaurants which serves some of the best curries and stroll through the tranquil scenery. The final ropeway takes passengers to the upper station at an altitude of 2150 meters, where an observation deck provides a breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains. 

Shinhotaka Ropeway. Photo Credit: Centrip Japan


Gifu Prefecture


Takayama is a city located west of Tokyo within the mountainous Gifu Prefecture.  It is well known for its wooden houses and narrow streets found in the Sanmachi Suji district, making it a popular spot for photos. The city has a population of 88,000, yet it is so enveloped in culture, specifically the biannual Takayama Festival which has been a tradition for over 350 years. If you are not able to make the festival while at Takayama, fear not! The Matsuri-no-Mori Festival Museum displays the best aspects from the festival. Replicas of the beautiful Autumn festival floats are on show which is guaranteed to fascinate you. Not only that, but you will see other iconic components of the festival, such as ginormous taiko drums, said to be the largest in the world. Check arap porno The amalgamation of these is a phenomenal cultural experience for the whole family.


But one morning make it your mission to stop by the markets and witness the strong sense of community Takayama has for yourself. The markets sit along a clear river brimming with vibrant fish, which is bound to further relax you on your stroll. Browse through the local products which include vegetables, pickles, jewellery, kitchenware and more. 

Whether you’re a fan or not of sake, visiting a traditional brewery is more than recommended. Learn about the entire process in which it takes to create this iconic Japanese beverage, and even better, drink! If you’re travelling with kids, ask from some Amazake, which is a delicious fermented rice drink with zero alcohol made in a very similar process in which sake is created.   


Toyama Prefecture


Gokayama is a small area found in the city of Nanto in Toyama Prefecture. Famed for its traditional gasshō-zukuri houses, there is no place more inviting than this one. Enrol in a traditional washi (Japanese paper) making class and take up the challenge to create and design your own postcard from liquid to paper. Washi is Japanese hand-made paper. While there are many places in Japan where washi is made, the Etchu Washi, Japanese paper made in Gokayama, has actually been designated as one of Japan’s Traditional Crafts. Etchu is the old name of present-day Toyama where paper-making has a history of over 1,000 years.

Washi-Paper Making. Photo Credit: Mitsuboshi Kaidou

If arts and crafts is not your cup of tea, take a simple stroll and absorb the breathtaking atmosphere of Gokayama which will make your trip more than worth it. Shō river is a river which crosses through two prefectures and plays a massive part in Japan’s hydroelectricity production as it houses 16 major dams. 


Getting Around

Whether you’re getting lost in a big city, finding yourself in a small village, or even making your way between the two, Japan offers magnificent sights to behold. So if you’re intending to drive around the great Nation, you might eventually find yourself on the Central Nippon Expressway. 

Photo Credit: Akihiko Kato

If that is the case, we recommend getting the Central Nippon Expressway Pass (CEP) as you start planning your routes. The pass allows foreigners to use the expressway in Central Japan at an inexpensive flat rate.


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