I am fascinated by Japan's Warring States Era, and over the years I have visited historically significant sites all across Japan.
On this day my daughter and I took the ropeway up to Gifu Castle. Once inside, we enjoyed viewing the portraits of warlords such as Saito Dosan and Oda Nobunaga, but seeing the brutal weapons of war made us cringe with discomfort.
Also, I think there is something about Gifu Castle and its environs that you should know - there is a Squirrel Village. In fact, we stopped at the Squirrel Village before we climbed the steps to Gifu Castle (Sorry, Nobunaga). And we were utterly charmed.
After we paid the 200 yen entrance fee, the attendant handed us each a glove to wear. She opened the gate and we could see squirrels both gallivanting and lazing about. The attendant sprinkled a finely ground "nut dust" into our gloved palms and the squirrels were immediately attracted, jumping up and nibbling at the treat we held. It was pretty darn cute.
We each took pictures using our un-gloved hand. Next, we were given a few peanut pieces to feed to the caged chipmunk, who was even cuter than the squirrels. I felt sorry that the chipmunk was confined because it zipped frenetically around the cage - it would have driven my cats insane - but given a peanut, the chipmunk paused to eat. We were enchanted by the Squirrel Village, but if you are afraid of rodents (like my mom) or if you consider them pests (like my dad) it is probably best to pass this one by.
Amanda and I reflected on what Oda Nobunaga would think about the Squirrel Village existing on the castle grounds. We concluded that it would meet his approval as long as it produced revenue!
Gifu Squirrel Village map
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