| Centrip Editorial Board
The Central Japan Region and its Various Charms
Introduction: The Central Japan Region is the best destination for travel after COVID-19.
Centrip Japan introduces the Central Japan region and the various tourist attractions within. Not only is the area concentrated with fascinating Japanese culture and history, but it is also surrounded by abundant nature, especially the 3,000-meter-high mountain range known as the Japanese Alps. The Central Japan region, located between Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka, has a well-organized transportation network and is a very convenient starting point for a trip to Japan, whether you use the Shinkansen or rent a car.
After the pandemic, plan for an engaging trip to Japan starting from Chubu International Airport, the gateway to the Central Japan region.
Enjoy Japanese history & culture: Samurai and Ninja
The Central Japan region is the birthplace of some of Japan's most famous heroes, such as Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, and home to many of Japan's most famous castles. There are five castles recognized as national treasures in Japan, and three of them are in the Central Japan region: Matsumoto Castle, Inuyama Castle, and Hikone Castle.
Talk a walk around the towns that formed around the castles and visit the castles designated as national treasures and cultural assets. Inuyama Castle and Hikone Castle, for example, have recreated the townscapes of their castle towns and offer the opportunity to stroll through history with the castle looking over you from afar.
In addition to the three national treasure castles, visit Nagoya Castle, home to the Omotenashi Bushoutai (Nagoya Samurai Greeters). The greeters are a group of actors dressed as samurai wearing realistic recreations of historical armor. Visitors can take commemorative photos with them. Before you go, visit Honmaru Goten Palace, recently beautifully restored to its original state.
The Chubu region is also host to various ninja bases belonging to the most powerful ninja clans. Ninja were specialists in information gathering and combat, serving under their warlords. Examples include Iga, Koga, and Togakushi. In Iga, rising above towering stone walls is Iga Ueno Castle, and on the castle grounds lies the Iga-Ryu Ninja Museum. At the museum, you can watch impressive ninja shows featuring ninjas who train hard every day.
Enjoy winter sports surrounded by Japanese Nature
The Central Japan Region is known as the "Roof of Japan" a name earned from several peaks in the range that tower over 3000 meters high. The mountain range is known today as the “Japanese Alps”, a term coined by William Gowland, a British mining engineer who surveyed the mountains in the late 19th century because they reminded him of the Alps in Europe.
Seeing the beautiful natural landscape of Central Japan, surrounded by mountains, is enough to make the visit worthwhile. Each season is unique, but the winter season is particularly stunning when snow drapes the range in a blanket of white snow.
At the center of this fascinating place is Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where visitors can see historical Japanese rural culture and landscapes. In the winter, a blanket of snow covers Shirakawa-go. It can exceed a depth of 170 cm in February. The steeply pitched thatched roofs of the Gassho-zukuri-style help reduce the snow's weight and make it easier to remove.
If you want to see the winter landscape with ease, try taking a ropeway ride.
I recommend the Komagatake Ropeway in the Central Alps. It is the highest ropeway in Japan, with an altitude difference of 950m, and the station at the summit, Senjojiki, is 2611.5m above sea level. Near the summit station, many hands-on activities are available using snowshoes, taking the work out of your enjoyment of snow in the great outdoors.
Finally, if you are looking to enjoy skiing, the Chubu area is the center of winter sports in Japan, with Nagano, the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics.
There are numerous ski resorts in the area, including the most popular, Hakuba Village in Nagano Prefecture. They attract skiers from all over the world. Advanced skiers, beginners, and children enjoy the ski resorts and are great for families. In particular, Gujo City in Gifu Prefecture is conveniently home to several ski resorts, such as Takasu Snow Park and Meiho Snow Resort. It is also within a short distance from Nagoya, the starting point for sightseeing in the Central Japan region. The neighboring areas of Takayama and Shirakawa-go offer skiing and sightseeing for your enjoyment as well.
Enjoy Japan by car: Trips by rental cars
The Chubu area is also known for the high concentration of automotive industry, centered on Toyota City, the home of Toyota Motor Corporation, contributing to the well-developed network of highways and roads in the Chubu region. It makes for easy and comfortable travel by car. At Chubu International Airport, the gateway to the Central Japan region, you can rent a car after arriving by plane, at the connecting corridor directly across from the arrival lobby. A variety of services and plans for travelers is at your fingertips, so feel free to enjoy your trip to Japan with a rental car.
If you are going to rent a car, it is a good idea to choose places that are easy to reach.
For example, Monet's Pond is one such place. Without a car, you have to take a local train and a bus, not very convenient. Here you can see water lilies that bloom in clear spring water with Nishikigoi carp swimming in the pond. It is so beautiful it looks like Monet’s masterpiece, Water Lilies, and earned its name and popularity on social media. This off-the-beaten-path location is exactly the kind of place to visit with a rental car and take some great photos.
The Mikawa Bay area is also convenient to visit by car. You can see Sakushima, a remote island known for its art, and Takeshima, where you can walk along and straight bridge to this small island. Finally, Achi Village, where you can enjoy the starriest night sky in Japan.
By using a rental car allows you the freedom to expand your trip and build a travel itinerary tailored to your wishes.
Central Japan is a region filled with the history and culture of samurai and ninja, snowy landscapes, winter sports, and road trips. It is an area filled with diverse tourist attractions that will satisfy the needs of any traveler, whether traveling alone, with friends, or with family. In recent years, the area has also become a popular destination for family trips, with many places such as Gero Onsen, one of three famous hot springs in Japan, and the Ise-Shima area where elderly people can enjoy their stay.
The Chubu area is a strong candidate for travel plans following the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on the various tourist attractions in the Central Japan region not covered in this article, please refer to the links below.