A good rule of thumb for residents and tourists alike is to try and visit tourist places in Japan at mid-week. Weekends in Japan can be crowded and rather stressful as shoppers, hawkers, tourists and election campaigners mingle on hectic streets.
One such place to visit if possible during the week is Gujo Hachiman in Gifu Prefecture. The sound of calming running water abounds (three rivers run through town) and there are a number of fine temples, shrines and gardens as well as streets of traditional housing.
British writer Alan Booth mentions the town in his book Looking For The Lost: "The lanes...are narrow, steeply walled, and end in dimly lanterned eating places or in small stone bridges that arch over splashing streams. It was like an Edo-era stage set."
Access: There are express buses from both Gifu Station (approx 1 hour) and Nagoya Station (approx 2 hours) or take the more scenic but slower train route from Nagoya Station (2 hours and 45 minutes).
This involves catching a JR Takayama Line train to Mino Ota via Gifu, then changing to the Nagaragawa Railway for the journey to Gujo Hachiman Station.
Gujo Hachiman is easily explored on foot or there is bicycle hire at the Tourist Office (Tel: 0575 67 0002)
Japan Gujo Odori Gujo Hachiman Nagoya Japan Festivals Gifu