JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.

Category Albums Files
Gifu city 岐阜市Pictures of Gifu city, the capital city of Gifu Prefecture.
6 363
Nagara River Ukai Cormorant Fishing 長良川鵜飼


From May 11 to Oct. 15, the famous Nagara River Ukai cormorant fishing is performed by fishing masters. In the evenings, you can ride on a boat on Nagaragawa River to watch them fish ayu sweetfish with a bright torch and the birds diving and catching the fish in their throats. Also see my YouTube video here.

69 files, last one added on Mar 24, 2016
Album viewed 931 times

Gifu Castle 岐阜城


Gifu Castle is a mountaintop castle on Mt. Kinkazan in central Gifu city. It was once the residence of Lord Dosan Saito and later Nobunaga Oda. The present castle was reconstructed as a ferro-concrete building in 1956. The castle commands spectacular views of Gifu. Accessible by ropeway. Also see the video at YouTube.

23 files, last one added on Jul 24, 2005
Album viewed 423 times

Gifu Nobunaga Matsuri ぎふ信長まつり


Held on the first weekend in Oct., the Gifu Nobunaga Matsuri's highlight is a Sunday afternoon parade (12:30 pm–2:20 pm) of people dressed in historical costumes centering on Oda Nobunaga (usually played by a celebrity), considered to be the father of Gifu city. They parade on the main drag from JR Gifu Station to the foot of Mt. Kinkazan, the location of Gifu Castle.

104 files, last one added on Oct 06, 2018
Album viewed 102 times

Inaba Shrine on New Year's Day 伊奈波神社 初詣


Inaba Shrine is near the foot of Mt. Kinkazan (Gifu Castle) and Gifu city's most popular shrine for worship during New Year's. I visited on Jan. 1, 2011.

77 files, last one added on Jan 06, 2011
Album viewed 401 times

Gifu City Tower 43 岐阜シティ・タワー43


That super tall building next to JR Gifu Station is Gifu City Tower 43 that opened in Oct. 2007. Besides a few shops and restaurants, the building has a great lookout deck on the top. And it's free. On a clear day, you can see far and wide, like skyscrapers in Nagoya and Mt. Ibuki.

30 files, last one added on Jan 06, 2011
Album viewed 376 times

Nakasendo Kano-juku and Kano Castle 加納宿・加納城跡


Kano-juku was the 53rd station or lodging/post town of the Nakasendo Road. In 1601 when Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu abolished Gifu Castle, he had Kano Castle constructed. Kano-juku then thrived as a castle town and became Nakasendo's fifth largest shukuba lodging town. It had the Honjin, Waki-Honjin, and 35 lodges. The population was 2,728.

No original buildings remain, except for Tenmangu Shrine and Kano Castle's stone walls in a large castle park. A few markers indicate the location of the Waki Honjin and Honjin. Short walk south of JR Gifu Station.

60 files, last one added on Apr 23, 2020
Album viewed 93 times

6 albums on 1 page(s)

Hashima 羽島市Pictures of Hashima, Gifu Prefecture.
2 141
Takehana Matsuri + Wisteria Festival 竹鼻まつり・ふじまつり


Takehana Matsuri is a festival of ornate floats paraded in central Hashima on May 3. Each float features a performance of puppets (karakuri) or kids dancing. The festival is coupled with the Wisteria Festival at Takehana Betsuin temple.

112 files, last one added on Jun 14, 2013
Album viewed 367 times

Other Hashima Sights


Hashima has a nice folk history museum and movie museum.

29 files, last one added on Jun 17, 2013
Album viewed 242 times

2 albums on 1 page(s)

Mino 美濃市Pictures of Mino, Gifu Prefecture.
3 125
Udatsu Traditional Townscape うだつの上がる町並み


Mino has a traditional townscape of "udatsu" homes. Udatsu is a decorative firewall on the side of the home's roof. It's a rectangular area of residential streets lined with traditional homes. A few are open to the public. Near Minoshi Station on the Nagaragawa Railway. 重要伝統的建造物群保存地区

42 files, last one added on Apr 17, 2020
Album viewed 246 times

Mino Washi Museum 美濃和紙の里会館


Mino Washi Museum exhibits washi paper history, washi making, and washi paper art. It also offers washi paper-making lessons. Make your own washi postcards, etc. Anybody can do it. Open 9 a.m.–5 p.m., closed Tue. Admission ¥500 (¥250 for elementary school and jr. high school). From Mino-shi Station, take an infrequent bus. It's far from the train station because it needs to be near a clean river. Parking available.

51 files, last one added on Apr 17, 2020
Album viewed 211 times

Mino Station 美濃駅


Mino Station on the old Meitetsu Mino-cho Line in Gifu Prefecture closed in April 1999 and has been preserved as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property (登録有形文化財) since 2005. The train line was abolished in March 1999. However, the charming station building still stands and open to the public, complete with a few trains on display. Mino Station first opened here in Oct. 1923. (Not to be confused with other Mino Stations in Japan.) Short walk from Minoshi Station (美濃市駅) on the Nagaragawa Railway.

32 files, last one added on Apr 17, 2020
Album viewed 142 times


3 albums on 1 page(s)

Mino-Kamo 美濃加茂市Pictures of Minokamo, Gifu Prefecture.
1 134
Nakasendo Ota-juku 太田宿


Ota-juku was the 51st shukuba lodging town on the old Nakasendo Road linking Tokyo (Edo) and Kyoto. The old Nakasendo Road and some remnants of the shukuba still remain. The town is adjacent to Kiso River and one of the 16 Nakasendo lodging towns in Gifu Prefecture.

134 files, last one added on Apr 17, 2020
Album viewed 237 times


1 albums on 1 page(s)

Ogaki 大垣市Pictures of Ogaki, Gifu Prefecture.
5 398
Ogaki Castle 大垣城


Ogaki Castle is said to have been built in 1535 by Lord Miyagawa Yasusada. It served as the base for the Ishida Mitsunari's western forces during the Sekigahara War in 1600. The original castle was a National Treasure until it was destroyed during the war in 1945. The castle tower was reconstructed in 1959. Very pretty during cherry blossom season. Near JR Ogaki Station.

71 files, last one added on Apr 27, 2009
Album viewed 642 times

Shiki no Michi Promenade and Nakasendo Ogaki-juku 四季の路・大垣宿


This promenade is a 2.2 km walking path from Ogaki Station to Matsuo Basho's final point in his Oku-no-Hosomichi journey. It follows along the Suimon River and is especially pretty during cherry blossom season when rides on wooden tub boats (tarai-bune) are offered.

Ogaki-juku hardly has anything left. Only a small space for the Honjin site and a marker for the Waki-Honjin.

59 files, last one added on Apr 27, 2009
Album viewed 358 times

Ogaki Matsuri Festival 大垣まつり


Ogaki's biggest festival held on May 9-10 features eleven ornate floats called "yama." They are paraded along the streets in central Ogaki. Highlights include karakuri mechanical doll performances atop the floats and the floats lit up at night with paper lanterns. Held by Hachiman Jinja Shrine. On Dec. 1, 2016 (JST), Ogaki Matsuri Festival was inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as one of 33 "Yama, Hoko, and Yatai float festivals in Japan." Also see my YouTube video of karakuri puppets here and of children's dances here.

172 files, last one added on Jun 14, 2009
Album viewed 4232 times

Sunomata Ichiya Castle 墨俣一夜城


According to legend, Sunomata Castle was built overnight by Toyotomi Hideyoshi while he was still an lowly samurai. Sunomata Ichiya Castle was reconstructed in April 1991. Now a local history museum. Accessible by Gifu Bus (W65 on Obusa Sunomata Route) from JR Gifu Station and Ogaki Station. Get off at Sunomata bus stop.

64 files, last one added on Jun 21, 2009
Album viewed 767 times

Ogaki Keirin Cycling Stadium 大垣競輪場


City-operated bicycle racetrack Ogaki Keirinjo or Ogaki Cycling Stadium is where bicycle races are held. First built in 1952. On race days, free shuttle buses run often between Ogaki Station and the stadium. It takes 10 min.

32 files, last one added on Feb 15, 2009
Album viewed 285 times


5 albums on 1 page(s)

Sekigahara 関ヶ原町Pictures of Sekigahara-cho town, Gifu Pref. famous for the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.
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Battle of Sekigahara Historic Site 関ヶ原古戦場


One of Japan's most pivotal battles took place here on Oct. 21, 1600 (Sept. 15 of Keicho 5) between Tokugawa Ieyasu's Eastern Forces and Toyotomi Hideyoshi loyalist Ishida Mitsunari's Western Forces. Ieyasu's victory in the Battle of Sekigahara sealed Japan's historical fate for the next 250 years. The former battlefield is dotted with monuments indicating the positions of various warlords during the battle.

119 files, last one added on Apr 07, 2008
Album viewed 1527 times

Battle of Sekigahara Festival 2008 関ヶ原合戦祭り


On Oct. 19, 2008, the town of Sekigahara held a special two-day festival to commemorate the Battle of Sekigahara. These photos were taken on the second day when a procession and mock battle were staged. Matchlock gun battalions added to the colorful drama. Also see my YouTube video here.

172 files, last one added on Jan 14, 2009
Album viewed 884 times

Sekigahara Warland 関ヶ原ウォーランド


This is an outdoor park with larger-than-life, painted concrete sculptures depicting the Battle of Sekigahara between Tokugawa Ieyasu and Ishida Mitsunari. The battlefield is not geographically recreated. Admission charged.

25 files, last one added on Jan 06, 2007
Album viewed 494 times

Sekigahara Stalactite Cavern 関ヶ原鍾乳洞


Small but pleasant and popular cavern especially in summer when it is cool inside the cavern. Various rock formations and clear spring water are highlights. Admission charged.

16 files, last one added on Jan 07, 2007
Album viewed 274 times

Imasu-juku 今須宿


Imasu-juku was the fifty-ninth of the sixty-nine stations or shukuba post towns of the Nakasendo Road. It follows Sekigahara-juku and comes before Kashiwabara-juku in Shiga Pref. Today, it has very few remnants of its Nakasendo past. It is between Sekigahara and Kashiwabara Stations on the JR Tokaido Line.

26 files, last one added on Apr 23, 2011, 7 linked files, 33 files total
Album viewed 279 times

Other Sights


Other sights in Sekigahara, Gifu Pref. such as Fuwa-no-seki site and museum.

28 files, last one added on Apr 23, 2011
Album viewed 307 times

6 albums on 1 page(s)

Shirakawa 白川村Pictures of Shirakawa-go, Gifu, a World Heritage Site.
4 142
Shirakawa-go 白川郷


World Heritage Site for its traditional gassho-zukuri houses with steep thatched roofs.

47 files, last one added on Nov 13, 2006
Album viewed 890 times

Wada House 和田家


One of the main attractions of Shirakawa-go, this privately-owned house is the largest gassho-zukuri house in Shirakawa-go. The Wada family still live in the house while much of the house is open to the public. See the huge attic where they used to produce silk.

18 files, last one added on Nov 13, 2006
Album viewed 609 times

Myozenji Temple 明善寺


Myozenji is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Jodo Shinshu sect, the most common sect in Shirakawa-go. It's the only temple in the gassho-zukuri style with a thatched roof. The Hondo worshp hall is the largest building in Shirakawa-go.

40 files, last one added on Sep 17, 2016
Album viewed 452 times

Minshuku 民宿


Shirakawa-go's main source of income is tourism. Many old farmhouses with thatched roofs have been converted into lodging called "minshuku." But looks can be deceiving as the interior is completely modern. I have experience at four minshuku at Shirakawa-go.

37 files, last one added on Sep 17, 2016
Album viewed 535 times

4 albums on 1 page(s)

Takayama 高山市Pictures of Takayama, Gifu Prefecture.
3 132
Central Takayama 伝統的な町並み


Central Takayama near Takayama Station is noted for traditional buildings. Many attractions are within walking distance from the station. The Important Traditional Building Preservation Area is popular with tourists.

36 files, last one added on Mar 31, 2007
Album viewed 309 times

Takayama Jinya 高山陣屋


Central Takayama's most important traditional building is this former Government House. Originally the palace of Lord Kanamori of Takayama Castle, it was later used by local government administrators from 1692 to 1868. It is a National Historic Site.

42 files, last one added on Mar 15, 2007
Album viewed 345 times

Takayama Matsuri Festival 高山祭


The Takayama Festival is held twice a year, during April 14-15 and Oct. 9-10. The spring festival is held by Hieda Shrine and it is called Sanno Matsuri. The festival features twelve ornate "yatai" floats which are displayed and pulled along the streets. In a large plaza, katakuri puppets perform on a few of the floats. The festival is also dramatic at night with a float procession. On Dec. 1, 2016 (JST), Takayama Matsuri Festival was inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as one of 33 "Yama, Hoko, and Yatai float festivals in Japan."

54 files, last one added on Mar 31, 2007
Album viewed 421 times


3 albums on 1 page(s)

Tarui 垂井町Pictures of Tarui-cho town, Gifu Prefecture.
3 184
Nangu Taisha Shrine 南宮大社


Famous for its giant torii next to the shinkansen train tracks, this shrine is dedicated to Kanayama-hiko-no-Mikoto 金山彦命. It is the headquarters shrine for all Kanayama Shrines and iron-related shrines in Japan. Many of the buildings are Important Cultural Properties.

43 files, last one added on May 19, 2009
Album viewed 260 times

Tarui Hikiyama Matsuri Festival 垂井曳山祭り


Held on May 2-4, three ornate hikiyama floats are displayed and paraded around town. Young boys also perform in kabuki plays on the floats. May 3 is the main festival day, but May 2 is also a good day to see the matsuri. These photos were taken on May 2, 2009. Also see my YouTube video here.

79 files, last one added on May 19, 2009
Album viewed 397 times

Nakasendo Tarui-juku


Sakura Matsuri with koinobori carp streamers along Aikawa River, Takenaka Hanbei's castle remains, and Tarui-juku post town on the Nakasendo.

62 files, last one added on Apr 23, 2011
Album viewed 284 times


3 albums on 1 page(s)

Yoro 養老町Pictures of Yoro-cho town, Gifu Prefecture.
1 66
Yoro Falls 養老の滝


Yoro town's most famous attraction is Yoro Park and Yoro (Yoro-no-taki) Falls, especially during cherry blossom season in early April and during the autumn foliage. Yoro was named by Empress Gensho in the 8th century and proclaimed Yoro as the fountain of youth. She even named her era after Yoro (717-724). Even today, Yoronotaki Falls is one of Japan's 100 Famous Waterfalls and 100 Famous Water Springs.

66 files, last one added on Apr 24, 2011
Album viewed 736 times


1 albums on 1 page(s)