A Local's Guide for a Day Trip to Hida Furukawa City

Though it’s one of our favorite cities in Japan, don’t limit your trip to just Takayama City. Takayama city is a great place to base yourself to go on several one-day trips throughout Gifu, Japan.  Gifu Prefecture is rich in history and culture, and you can really get a sense of that as you venture out from the city and into the Japanese countryside.

If you base yourself in Takayama you will have easy access to JR Takayama Station, your gateway to explore all the various things to do in Gifu. You can catch a bus to visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go Village or visit the relaxing baths at Hirayu Onsen. In this post, we would like to introduce one of our favorite day trip locations: Hida Furukawa. This small, picturesque town is just a short train ride from JR Takayama Station. It’s one of our favorite Japan day trips overall!

To make planning your trip easier, the local MACHIYA INNS & HOTELS staff have picked out our favorite places to visit in Hida Furukawa.

Where Is Hida Furukawa Located?

Hida Furukawa is a small town in the Gifu Prefecture. It is specifically the town of Furukawa, which is in the vicinity of the city of Hida. It’s called Hida Furukawa to differentiate it from other towns in Japan that are also named Furukawa. The area has a long history — predating the Edo period — but Furukawa was officially established in 1889. Hida Furukawa is just a 15-minute train ride north of Takayama from the JR Takayama Station.

What Is Hida Furukawa Famous For?

Hida Furukawa is popular for being a nice change of pace from the busier Takayama City. The nostalgic Japanese countryside cleanses the soul, as does the Japanese sake that the town is known for!

Recently, Hida Furukawa has reached its peak fame due to being featured in the popular animated film ‘Kimi no Na wa’ or ‘Your Name.’ The movie mostly takes place in Tokyo but there are quite a few scenes in Hida Furukawa! The Hida Furukawa Station is one of the most prominently shown spots and it was recreated very faithfully. Other locations that were shown include the Hida City Library, the Miyagawa Ochiai bus stop, and the Keta Wakamiya Shrine. 

Our Recommendations for Where to Go and What to Eat

Walk Along the Quaint Setogawa Canal

Setogawa Canal is a modest canal that runs through the town of Hida Furukawa. It’s a beautiful canal but the houses that line it, with their stark white walls, are even more breathtaking. The canal is kept clean by an unlikely team of helpers: thousands of carp! They live in the canal from April to November each year. In the winter, they are moved to a pond that’s nearby.

If you’re visiting outside of the winter months, you’re in for a real treat. The colorful carp swimming through the crystal-clear canal, with the white stone buildings as a backdrop… it’s simply wonderful!

Explore and Shop in Hida Furukawa Old Town

If you really want to take a stroll through time, visit the Old Town. This is a section of town southwest of the JR Hida-Furukawa station.

Sake Breweries

As mentioned earlier, Hida Furukawa is known for its sake. The fresh water from the mountain ranges that surround the town improves the quality of the rice used to make sake.

There are two Japanese sake breweries in town that you should add to your list of things to do in Gifu. Kaba Sake Brewery is a 300-year-old brewery whose signature “Shiramayumi” sake has won The Fine Sake Awards Japan three times!

Watanabe Sake Brewery is not as old but is just as good, and is known for its uniquely-named sake. Here, you can join an in-depth tour where you can see how the sake is made.

Best Street Food to Try in Hida Furukawa

All the walking throughout the Japanese countryside is sure to work up an appetite. If you’d rather try some street food, we recommend the ‘Hida-gyu Korokke’ (Japanese-style potato croquette mixed with Hida beef), or the Hida-gyu Kushi (Hida beef skewers)! If you’d rather have a hearty meal, head over to Ajidokoro Furukawa. It’s a machiya-style restaurant with set menus.

The first floor is the main restaurant and the second floor has a large tatami room that is fit for seating large groups. There is also a shop attached, where you can pick up souvenirs. It’s famous for appearing in one scene of the film ‘Your Name.’

Recommendations from local staff

Our favorite meal is the restaurant’s namesake: the ‘Ajidokoro Furukawa set meal,’ which includes Hida beef steak with magnolia leaf miso. There are many other dishes made with local ingredients that can only be tasted in Hida, Takayama, and other Gifu cities. You can try the Furukawa ramen or the oyakodon (chicken and egg rice bowl) made with Hida chicken.

Candle-Making Shop

Another living testament to the craftsmanship of the locals is the Mishima Japanese Candle Shop. It’s one of the few remaining places in the country that craft traditional Japanese candles — it’s really great that there’s one so close to Takayama. Gifu, Japan has many traditional shops, in general.

These candles are made with goby nuts and are known for how long they last. Many people feel that the candles have healing properties, thanks to their soft, gentle flame. They make a great gift to bring back from Japan day trips like this one!

Try Handmade Soba & Herb Dishes at Busuitei Ohako

Another option for lunch is Busuitei Ohako. This café-style restaurant has a retro exterior that looks great in photos. Don’t get too caught up in appearances, though. The real star of the show is the food. Here, you can enjoy medicinal herb dishes made with herbs harvested locally in Hida.

Recommendations from local staff

We highly recommend the medicinal herb plate. Even people who usually hate the taste of medicinal herbs find it delicious! They have plenty of traditional-style meals, such as handmade soba (made with buckwheat flour from Hida) served with medicinal herbs. There are also unexpectedly tasty fusion dishes like herb curry and herb pizza.

Where to Stay in Takayama City

If you’d like to experience staying in a traditional machiya with modern comforts, stay with THE MACHIYA HOTEL TAKAYAMA. The exterior shows off a traditional wooden machiya architecture, which blends perfectly into the historical and quaint townscape.

A short walk from JR Takayama Station, and just around the corner from the historical Jinya architecture, THE MACHIYA HOTEL TAKAYAMA provides the perfect mix of tradition and modern. You can choose to stay in a western-style room, or a Japanese tatami room complete with futon bedding. If you’re traveling with a group of friends or family, we recommend staying in the spacious loft rooms! Rooms include eco-friendly bath amenities, yukata, coffee, tea, and more.

Related Posts