Updated: Jul 27, 2022
Shirakawago and Takayama are widely known to foreigners travelling to Japan, but Okuhida-onsengo does not seem to be. The first two places may be remembered as one phrase. It may be the result of tourism promotion that Gifu prefecture frequently carries out.
You may have heard the word ‘Sho-Ryu-Do 昇龍道’, which is relating to the wide area tourism promotion. Literally it means ‘The way the dragon rises.’ They say the shape of the Chubu and Hokuriku regions at the center of Japan resembles a rising dragon, with the Noto Peninsula forming its head and Mie Prefecture its tail, and its rising body covering every part of the nine Chubu and Hokuriku Prefectures. The Sho-Ryu-Do actually covers many tourist destinations in that area such as Nagoya, Gero (Hot Springs), Takayam, Shirakawago, Gokayama and Kanazawa.
However, there are many charms of Japan in towns that have deviated from the major travel route. For example, Okuhida Onsengo. A nostalgic and rustic atmosphere envelopes the entire village.
Okuhida-onsengo is scattered with five rural and rustic hot spring villages; Hirayu 平湯, Fukuji 福地, Shin-Hirayu 新平湯, Tochio 栃尾 and Shin-Hotaka 新穂高. All are conveniently accessible on the same bus route. Okuhida-onsengo is said to be a hidden treasure, especially for hot-spring enthusiasts.
There are two major sightseeing spots in Okuhida-onsengo. The first is the "New Hotaka Ropeway", which has a very high level of recognition and satisfaction from foreign travelers. This is Japan's first two-story gondola, where you can enjoy an aerial walk up to 2,200 m above the clouds, and from the observation deck at the top you can enjoy 360 ° magnificent seasonal views. This is rated 2 stars in "Michelin Green Guide Japon 2009". The second one is Okuhida Bear Park. In this facility, there are approximately 100 Japanese black bears. Here, you can experience feeding and you can take a picture by holding a baby bear. In recent years, the number of foreign tourists has also increased, and they thoroughly enjoy both feeding and photo shooting.
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