Full of nature art! Enjoy winter plays in "Okuhida".

Full of nature art! Enjoy winter plays in
Winter in Japan is cold! Since going to travel, might as well like to target to warm seasons...for the one who thinks that way, I have just one thing to say. That is that superb views that you have never seen before in the coldest great nature in Japan are waiting.
What I introduce this time is "Okuhida" area located in the northern part of Gifu prefecture. I will introduce four recommended winter-plays that you can enjoy together with "Okuhida", surrounded by mountains of 3,000 m elevation of the northern Alps, also popular as a hot spring resort, and with the world heritage Shirakawa-go, and more.

[The winter play of Okuhida 1]
Snow world of the Northern Alps and "Shinhotaka Ropeway

Shinhotaka Ropeway
Talking about Okuhida of winter, if you do not fully enjoy snowy mountains of the great Northern Alps, you do not know what you are missing!
But, it is a tough mission to accomplish climbing up in cold with dull feeling.
But, it is OK! Riding on Shinhotaka Ropeway, which arrives at Nishihotakaguchi of 2,156 m elevation in about 11 minutes, you can enjoy such a beautiful snowy different world.
  • Shinhotaka Ropeway
  • Shinhotaka Ropeway
As the low temperature in winter mountains makes them dry, the air is so clear that you can clearly view the landscape even far, and it is very pleasing.From here on, I will introduce recommended winter plays that you can enjoy at each point of Shinhotaka Ropeway.

[Nabedaira Kogen Heights] Going to the forest with snowshoes

Nabedaira Kogen Heights
To begin with, let us go for trekking in snowy mountains, borrowing snowshoes at "Sangakukan", shinhotaka Visitor center, located at "Nabedaira Kogen Heights"! As you can borrow a set, including snow wears, spats, gloves, it is also convenient that you can join without bringing anything.
  • Nabedaira Kogen Heights
  • Nabedaira Kogen Heights
Fluffy pure white snow make sounds of crisp and squeaking-like, and such a sense of touch is also fun.
The primeval forest made up with snow expanding on snowy mountains is very mystic, and it is said that wild animals, such as a serow, appear sometimes there! Trying being covered with powder snow, let us our whole body play completely with snowy mountains.

[Shirakabadaira station] Relax with a foot bath!

Shirakabadaira station
Walked in snowshoes, and let us GO to a foot bath of Shin-Hotaka Onsen hot spring just in front of “Shirakabadaira station”!
Soaking cold tip-toes in hot water, your body stiffened by coldness becomes relaxed.
To-go-snacks and drinks are available nearby, and it will be a good idea to have a short break.

[Nishihotakaguchi station] Walking along “Snow corridor”!

Nishihotakaguchi station
  • Nishihotakaguchi station
  • Nishihotakaguchi station
Getting off at "Nishihotakaguchi station", the last stop, the snow wall corridor with a height of some 4 m appears!
You can experience the powerfulness of accumulated snow on the elevation of 2,156 m and a strange sense surrounded by pure white snow.

[Nishihotakaguchi station] 360 degrees view of the Northern Alps!

Nishihotakaguchi station
  • Nishihotakaguchi station
  • Nishihotakaguchi station
Lastly, let us go to the roof observation deck of "Nishihotakaguchi station" where you can enjoy the best views of Shinhotaka Ropeway!
Actually, the superb view overlooked from here is awarded two stars in "Michelin Green Guide Japon". You will be moved by the large snowy panoramic view, such as Nishihotaka dake mountain, Yarigatake mountain, Kasagatake mountain that you can overlook from the elevation of 2,156 m.
Please confirm the superb view that the world pays attention to by all means with your own eyes.
Also, "Nishiho kun", an iconic idle of the roof observation deck, is waiting for you every year! Please shoot memorial photos friendly together with him.
『Shinhotaka Ropeway』
【Address】Shinhotaka, Okuhida Onsengo, Takayama city, Gifu prefecture
【Business hours】Changes by seasons. Please refer to the official site for details.
【Fare】A Round trip between Shinhotaka Onsen station and Nishihotakaguchi station: Adult 2,900 Yen, Kid: 1,450 Yen
【Holiday】Open everyday (May have no operation due to bad weather or regular maintenance)
【Access】Take “Hirayu/Shinhotaka line” of Nohi bus from JR Takayama station (for about 1 hour and 40 minutes), then get off at the terminal.
【WEB Site】http://shinhotaka-ropeway.jp.e.uk.hp.transer.com/
『Nabedaira Kougen Heights Snowshoes half day tour』
【Period of tour】Late December through Late March (Depending on snow conditions)
【Time】(Morning) Start at 9:30AM, finish at 12PM, (Afternoon) Start at 1PM, finish at 3:30PM
【Address】Shinhotaka Onsen, Okuhida Onsengo, Takayama city, Gifu prefecture
【Fare】Adult 4,000 Yen, Kid 2,900 Yen (including a set of rental goods and a guide for a tour)
【WEB Site】https://www.kankou-gifu.jp/event/3236/
▷ Here for the details how to access to JR Takayama station

[The winter plays of Okuhida 2]
Giant ice pillar arts! Intoxicated with “Okuhida Fuyu Monogatari”

The winter plays of Okuhida
The next, I introduce “Okuhida Fuyu Monogatari (winter tales)”, in which you can only in winter see the art of great nature !
This event is held every year from late December through late March at the five areas in Okuhida Onsengo in total, including Hirayu, Fukuchi, Shin-hirayu, Tochio, Shin-hotaka.
When you enjoy fully the combination of the mystic art of ice and snow only in winter and of a snow-viewing open-air bath in Okuhida Onsengo, you will become warmed in mind and body! From here, I introduce the superb view events of mystic winter in Okuhida Fuyu Monogatari.

1.The giant ice pillar! “Hirayu Ootaki Keppyou festival”

The winter plays of Okuhida
If you like to see a beautiful ice fall, go to “Hirayu Ootaki Keppyou Festival” held in February every year at Hirayu Onsen! “Hirayu Ootaki” with 64 m height and 6 m width, selected to the one of Japan’s best 100 waterfalls, transforms to a giant ice pillar. After sunset, lights in white, blue and green illuminate the ice pillar, and place around there becomes a mystic different world. Let us fully enjoy the artworks just in winter created by the great nature.
『Hirayu Ootaki Keppyou Festival』
【Place of event】Hirayu Onsen, Hirayu Ootaki, and in the ground of Hirayu Onsen
【Period of event】Mid to late February
【WEB Site】http://www.okuhida-fuyumonogatari.com/hirayu.php

2. Reproduce natural phenomena! Fukuchi Onsen Aodaru.

Fukuchi Onsen Aodaru
Do you know what is “Aodaru”?
It is a phenomenon that drops of water trickling from rocks are frozen, and become looking like a blue water belt. Reproduction of aodaru, which normally can only be seen in mountains of very cold winter, by spraying spring water to woods in Onsen village is the aodaru of Fukuchi Onsen. Moreover, this giant aodaru will be seen around Fukuchi Onsen bus stop, in other words, in the very center of Onsen village!
You cannot miss not only shiny shapes in blue white, reflecting the sun light during a day, but also the shape illuminated at night.
『Fukuchi Onsen Aodaru』
【Place of event】In Fukuchi Onsen, Around “Fukuchi Onsen” bus stop
【Period of event】Late December through late March
【WEB Site】http://www.okuhida-fuyumonogatari.com/aodaru.php

3. A romantic night! "Shin-Hirayu Onsen Taruma Kanekoori Illumination"

Shin-Hirayu Onsen Taruma Kanekoori Illumination
"Shin-Hirayu Onsen Taruma Kanekoori Illumination" features the illumination of full of romantic mood.
The colorful lights illuminate the ice fall of Taruma fall, where "Taruma water", the famous water of Okuhida, trickles. During the special event, there appears an ice bar, where glasses of hot wine and drinks are sold, and you can spend heart-warming moment, viewing the ice statues!
『Shin-Hirayu Onsen Taruma Kanekoori Illumination』
【Place of event】Shin-Hirayu Onsen, Shinsui Park (Areas around Taruma fall)
【Period of event】Late December until the end of February
【WEB Site】http://www.okuhida-fuyumonogatari.com/taruma.php

4. Experience playing with many kamakura. "Shin-Hotaka Onsen Nakao Kamakura Festival"

Shin-Hotaka Onsen Nakao Kamakura Festival
Do you know that inside of a kamakura (a snow hut) is unexpectedly warm? In this event, held in Shin-Hotaka Onsen, the farthest place of Okuhida Onsengo, you can not only view big, small, and various sizes of snow huts, but also spend your relaxed time surrounding a hearth in a snow hut. There is also a snow hut bar where you can taste craft sake, and you can enjoy "Nakao Meoto Shishi (a lion couple)", a local folk entertainment, that two shishi (lions) dancing acrobatically. Why don't you enjoy the special occasion in a world like a fairy tale that lamp shade made of ice produces?
『Shin-Hotaka Onsen Nakao Kamakura Festival』
【Place of event】Shin-Hotaka Onsen, Nakao Kogen, Nakao Event Square
【Period of event】Early to mid February
【WEB Site】http://www.okuhida-fuyumonogatari.com/nakao.php
『Okuhida Onsengo』
【Address】Okuhida Onsengo, Takayama City, Gifu prefecture
【Access】Take “Nohi bus” from JR Takayama station, and get off at Okuhida Onsengo.
▷ Here for the details how to access to JR Takayama station

[The winter play of Hida 3]
A giant ice palace! The ice-fall of Kosaka and Nigorigo Onsen

The ice-fall of Kosaka
  • The ice-fall of Kosaka
  • The ice-fall of Kosaka
Perfect for the one who likes to challenge to more snowy mountains is "winter falls hopping of Kosaka".
A guide who knows well the place guides you to the ice-falls, lined clusters of giant ice pillars of about 20 m height and of about 50 m width. After climbing up steep mountain trails, you will be impressed at the moment the clusters of ice pillars in an ice blue color appear in the world of monotone. When conditions meet, you can go around the back side of the fall, so get ready to fully enjoy the ice-fall like a palace, from various angles.
And this tour is about 4 km of a round trip and takes about 3 hours and is all snow trekking, so you need appropriate body strength. Let us be ready to challenge with the best condition of body.

1800 meter of the elevation! Located at the highest place in Japan*, relax in a snow viewing bath of "Nigorigo Onsen"

Actually, this tour has two courses, "the regular course" and "the deluxe course". The deluxe course includes not only the ice fall of Kosaka, but also a snow viewing bath and a delicious lunch at an inn of Nigorigo Onsen, a hidden spot.
You will be speechlessly impressed with an open air bath surrounded by snow landscape all over, for your body walked in the lowest temperature of minus 20 degrees Celsius!
Nigorigo Onsen
And the lunch is inn's signature creative dishes. Please completely enjoy the luxury dishes that you can taste only in this place.
Nigorigo Onsen
Let us warm a whole body from inside with "Miso wild boar hot pot".
  • Tofu hot pot
  • Tofu hot pot
"Tofu hot pot" melts by effect of carbonated spring!
Please surely be relaxed by an open air bath and the dining after you were impressed with the superb views of snowy mountains.
※Nigorigo Onsen is located at the highest place in Japan among onsen villages that still open even in the middle of winter.
『Winter falls hopping of Kosaka』
【Period of event】Late January through middle of March
【Time】8:20 AM start/ 4:30 to 5PM finish
【Meeting place】Hida Kosaka Visitor Center (Akanumata 811-1, Kosaka town, Gero city)
【Fee】Regular course 9,800 Yen (including guide and rental goods), Deluxe course 13,300 Yen (including guide, rental good, bathing and lunch)
【Access】Shuttle service available between JR Hida Kosaka station and Hida Kosaka Visitor Center (* Reservation required)
【WEB Site】https://www.osaka-taki.com/tour_info/winnter-tour/index.html
『Nigorigo Onsen』
【Address】Ochiai-Nigorigo, Kosaka town, Gero city, Gifu prefecture
【Access】After get off at JR Hida Kosaka station, take a taxi to Nigorigo Onsen for 1 hour and 20 minutes
【WEB Site】http://www.city.gero.lg.jp/kankou/node_7779/node_29737/node_29748/node_30036
▷ Here for the details how to access to Hida Kosaka station

[The winter play of Hida 4]
A fairy-tale like world in "Shirakawago in winter"

Shirakawago in winter
The world heritage "Shirakawago" is essential for sightseeings in Hida area, after all. It is the superb view spot of definitely Japan's original landscape, lining around 100 houses of Gasshou-zukuri (a house built with a steep thatched roof), which engraved times of several hundreds of years!
Especially, during the accumulated snow season from middle of January through early February, houses of Gasshou-zukuri are illuminated, and a scene as if one of a fairy tale expands. I introduce some of "must-see" points when you come to Shirakawago.

The largest and oldest Gasshou-zukuri folk house “Wada house”.

Shirakawago in winter
  • Wada house
  • Wada house
This Wada house is built more than 300 years ago and is the oldest Gasshou-zukuri folk house in Shirakawa village. Moreover, it is the largest house area in Shirakawa village, with the frontage of 14 ken (about 25 meter) and the depth of 7 ken (about 13 meter). It is also known that the state of preservation of the surrounding environment is good, such of a garden and a hedge.
And you can observe both the ground floor where is a living space that the family lived and the second floor where is a silkworms room produced raw silk. You will know the ancestors' wisdom and ingenuity for a living in heavily snowing in the deep in mountains.
By the way, it is said that Mr. Wada and the family live there also today in the other areas than for observation. It is the house representing Shirakawago that still inherits the past tradition to posteriors after all through 300 years. Please try visiting there.
『Wada house』
【Address】Ogimachi 997, Shirakawa village, Oono district, Gifu prefecture
【Admission】Adult 300 Yen, Kid 150 yen
【Business hours】9 AM to 5 PM
【Access】About four minutes walk from Shirakawago bus terminal
【WEB Site】https://shirakawa-go.gr.jp/see/2332/

The photos of a catalog: "Ogimachi-jo Castle Ruins Observatory"

Ogimachi-jo Castle Ruins Observatory
When you visit to Shirakawago, what you like to shoot is this landscape, lined up numerous gasshou-zukuri folk houses with background of Hakusan mountains, isn't it? Ogimachi-jo Castle Ruins Observatory, located on a high land where overlooking Ogimachi, is where you can overview the landscape that you see in the catalog.
You know that all the houses are built facing north to south when you overlook the cluster of thatched from the above. This makes lessen resistance to seasonal wind in winter, and at the same time, as the roof faces east to west, the accumulated snow on the roof will be easy to melt. The landscape makes us feel the beauty of Gasshou-zukuri, as a wisdom of living materialized as a shape of house, doesn't it?
『Ogimachi-jo Castle Ruins Observatory』
【Address】Ogimachi, Shirakawa village, Oono district, Gifu prefecture
【Access】About 30 minutes by walk from Ogimachi village, about 10 minutes by shuttle bus
【Fee】Free

You cannot miss "illumination" of mystic snow

The cluster of Gasshou-zukuri covered with pure white snow becomes more mystic landscape at night by illumination.
Shirakawago in winter
Actually, it is said that for this illumination there were countless troubles as so many visitors visited despite short hours of only two hours. As a result, the reservation only parking system has been implemented, and it makes restriction of numbers of visitors. You can enter to the village only by either four ways as following.
① staying in the village on the day, ② using a parking by day trip, ③ a tour of travel company, and ④ a tour by public bus.

As they wish the visited tourists to bring home with good memories, and the village people implemented the restriction with such wish. This year, please make sure to have a reservation, and enjoy fully and thoroughly the landscape of mystic Shirakawago, illuminated by lights.
『Shirakawago』
【Address】Ogimachi, Shirakawa village, Oono district, Gifu prefecture
【Business hours】9AM to 5PM
【Access】Take “Expressway Shirakawago line” of Gifu bus from JR Nagoya station at Meitesu bus center, and get off at Shirakawago (about 2 hours and 50 minutes)
【About illumination】https://shirakawa-go.gr.jp/en/events/lighup-2020/
▷ Here for the details how to access to Shirakawago
These are various winter plays for enjoying together with Okuhida, Gifu prefecture.
Vast snowy mountains of Northern Alps, mystic nights in Okuhida Onsengo, the ice-falls like an ice palace, and Gasshou-zukuri folk houses like a fairy tale. Mystic superb views are waiting for you.
Opening the door this winter, why don't you jump into the impressive moment that you can see only in the middle of winter?
┃Access to JR Takayama station

【From Nagoya station】
■By train
Take JR Takayama line (Limited express Wide View Hida) from JR Nagoya station and get off at JR Takayama station (about 2 hours and 20 minutes)

■By bus
Take Expressway bus “Nagoya line” from Meitetsu Bus Center and get off at Takayama Nohi Bus Center (about 2 hours and 35 minutes)

【From Chubu Centrair International Airport】
■By train
Take Nagoya Railroad from Chubu Centrair International Airport and get off at Meitetsu Nagoya station (about 40 minutes)
Transfer from Meitetsu Nagoya station to JR Nagoya station by walk
Take JR Takayama line (Limited express Wide View Hida) from JR Nagoya station and get off at JR Takayama station (about 2 hours and 20 minutes)

■By bus
Take Nagoya Railroad from Chubu Centrair International Airport and get off at Meitetsu Nagoya station (about 40 minutes)
Take Expressway bus “Nagoya line” from Meitetsu Bus Center and get off at Takayama Nohi Bus Center (about 2 hours and 35 minutes)

Please refer to the official site for details of Nohi bus.
『Nohi bus』
【Web Site】https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/nagoya/
┃Access to JR Hida-Kosaka station

【From Nagoya station】
Take JR Takayama line (Limited express Wide View Hida) from JR Nagoya station and get off at JR Gero station (about 1 hour and 40 minutes)
Take JR Takayama main line local train from JR Gero station and get off at JR Hida Kosaka station (about 25 minutes)

【From Takayama station】
Take JR Takayama main line local train from JR Takayama station and get off at JR Hida Kosaka station (about 35 minutes)

【From Chubu Centrair International Airport】
Take Nagoya Railroad from Chubu Centrair International Airport and get off at Meitetsu Nagoya station (about 40 minutes)
Transfer from Meitetsu Nagoya station to JR Nagoya station by walk
Take JR Takayama line (Limited express Wide View Hida) from JR Nagoya station and get off at JR Gero station (about 1 hour and 40 minutes)
Take JR Takayama main line local train from JR Gero station and get off at JR Hida Kosaka station (about 25 minutes)
┃Access to Shirakawago

【From Nagoya station】
Take Gifu bus “Expressway Shirakawago line” from Meitetsu bus center and get off at Shirakawago (about 2 hours and 50 minutes)

【From Takayama station】
Take Nohi bus “Shirakawago line” from Takayama Nohi bus center and get off at Shirakawago (about 50 minutes)

【From Chubu Centrair International Airport】
Take Nagoya Railroad from Chubu Centrair International Airport and get off at Meitetsu Nagoya station (about 40 minutes)
Transfer from Meitetsu Nagoya station to JR Nagoya station by walk
Take Gifu bus “Expressway Shirakawago line” from Meitetsu bus center and get off at Shirakawago (about 2 hours and 50 minutes)

Please refer to the official site for details of Gifu bus.
『Gifu bus』
【Web site】http://www.gifubus.co.jp/highway/shirakawa/

Please refer to the official site for details of Nohi bus.
『Nohi bus』
【Web site】https://www.nouhibus.co.jp/highwaybus/kanazawa/

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