Gifu Castle is situated at the top of Mount Kinka. There is a beautiful park with fountains, small waterfalls, statues etc. at the base fo this mountain. The entrance of the park has a beautiful fountain decorated with plants and there is a statue in the middle. There is a statue of Nobunaga Oda inside the park. He was a strong samurai who named this castle as Gifu castle defeating the owners of this castle which as formerly known as the Inabayama castle. There is a three storeyed pagoda inside the park area as we climb through the trails. The reddish coloured pagoda surrounded by green trees has a majestic appearance attracting the attention from a distance.
There are two ways to reach the castle – either we can walk through the trails or we could choose the ropeway enjoying the thick greenery and beauty of the Kinkasan.The ropeway base station Sanroku located inside the park has a cable car with roundtrip ticket costs 1050 yen. The red pagoda, when seen from inside of the cable car, gave us a feeling that we could touch the top of the roof.
The thick green woods of the Kinkasan are also fabulous when seen on the go. It took us only three minutes to reach the top station of the ropeway. However, there is a long distance to walk to reach the castle. The steps appear after crossing the first gate named ‘Tanka Daiichi no mon’. There are small statues and worship areas along the way. After a short distance, there is another gate called ‘the Ninomaru’ gate. After crossing this gate and walking farther a little more, we will reach a point with a very nice view of the castle.
It took us more than half an hour to walk from the ropeway station to the top of the mountain before we reached the foot of the castle, while enjoying the surroundings.
The entry pass for the castle costs 200 yen. There are four floors in the castle and all of the floors are set with armors and weapons used in the past which reveals the history of the castle.The first floor has weapons such as bows and arrows, muskets, swords, spears, rifles etc. The second floor has some paintings and sculptures of the people who lived in this palace, like Nobunaga and his wife. The observation deck at the topmost floor gives a grand panoramic view of the entire Gifu city along with the Nagara river. There are telescopes arranged in every corner of the observation deck which can be used with 100 yen coins. The Nagara river seems like a blue long band tied along the city with some boats of different colours lined up on the shore.
There is a museum also situated near the castle. We could also see the armors, robes and other items used by Samurais of Edo period. The return path from the castle has a well called Honmaru, which was used for military purposes.
Near to the ropeway station, there is a squirrel village. There are different varieties of squirrels and some rabbits. Visitors can enter inside taking an entry pass worth 200 yen and could feed them. They will give the gloves to wear and some powder will be placed over our covered palms so that the squirrels will come fast and eat it. Once the grain flour is over they will turn to the other person. This is an interesting place especially for the kids.
Upon returning to the Gifu park, we still have things to see there. There is a Nawa insect museum near the exit of the park. It is named after Yasushi Nawa known as the Insect Man who discovered an insect called Gifu butterfly. This Western style museum building has more than thirty thousand insect specimens. This is Japan’s first insect museum.
There is another museum called the Gifu city museum of history. This museum showcases the history and culture of the Gifu city. It exhibits the early Gifu city as well as the modern one passing through its transitions. The entry pass here costs 300 yen for adults and 150 yen for children. The Sengaku Zukan exhibits the Sengaku period in a 3D manner. It’s the period when Nobunaga Oda lived. There is another portion called Rakuichi Emaki which is a 3D recreation of the Raku-ichi market of Nobunaga’s time. As a part of this museum, there is also an art museum containing the works of the brothers of Gifu city named Eizou and Touichi Katou.