If you’re looking for a side trip to add an authentic Japanese experience to your holiday, you should look at Gifu Prefecture.
The central Honshu province, famous for its traditional washi paper, is home to traditional mountain villages, castles and some of the best Japanese food in Japan.
Gifu Prefecture is a local tourism favourite. The Japanese come to see the beautiful mountain town of Hida-Takayama, fondly known as “Little Kyoto,” and Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
But word of this beautiful place is rapidly spreading beyond Japanese borders.
And it’s the incredible food everyone is raving about.
Gifu prefecture is blessed with an abundance of fresh produce and its food bursts with flavour.
It’s authentic, hearty Japanese that you’re going to crave long after your holiday in Japan.
Watch the video below to see some of the best food in Gifu Japan and read on for our top 5 signature dishes you really need to try when we can travel to Japan in 2022. You can also click the link above to learn more about this incredible destination.
1. Ayu meshi
This simple but exquisite Gifu Prefecture dish is made by boiling whole grilled ayu (sweetfish) with rice.
The art of this traditional food is all in the timing of the boiling process. It must be perfectly timed to draw out the natural flavour.
Seasoning is also key: just the right amount to balance and enhance the sweetfish flavour.
In Gifu, stop by Uosou (see the map below) as their version of the dish is a stand-out.
Takayama City is one of Gifu Prefecture’s most popular international tourist destinations, with close to 500,000 visitors a year.
The tourists come to see the its historic landscape, to bathe in hot springs and try Gifu’s mouth-watering local cuisine.
Many popular Japanese foods comes from this region: Itarashi Dango (rice dumplings in sweet soy sauce), Gohei Mochi (skewered rice cakes with sweet soy sauce), and Tsukemono Steak being the most famous.
But the stand out is the Takayama ramen.
Travellers visiting Gifu Prefecture love the history and flavour behind Takayama ramen. This Gifu Prefecture dish originates from outdoor Chinese noodle food-stands. Over the years, it has been transformed into a staple within the Japanese food scene.
Takayama ramen is made with chicken bone broth and soy sauce, accompanying thin curly noodles. Commonly topped with cooking staples in Japanese food; leeks, grilled pork, and seasoned bamboo shoots.
When in Gifu Prefecture travellers should head straight to Gouri (see the Takayama map below). The great restaurant has been in operation for 60 years and they know how to serve some of the best Japanese food in the country.
If you want to taste the best Gifu Prefecture food on offer, you need to order the light and flavoursome Dengaku.
The name Dengaku derives from dengaku boshi, a stilt dancer who would perform for the god of the rice fields during rice planting.
This skewered Japanese food dish resembles its namesake. With the skewers being reminiscent of the stilts dengaku boshi balanced on.
Dengaku has a lot of variations the most popular of which use tofu, eggplant and taro.
Kei-chan, simply known as Chicken Dish, is a local Gifu Prefecture food traditionally enjoyed in the summer holiday of the dead (Obon) and the new year holiday in Gero and Gujo Cities.
This dish is a staple in most Gifu households that raise their own chickens. Once the chickens have stopped laying eggs, locals marinate their meat in special sauces to be enjoyed later.
The finger-licking marinade is made from miso paste, soy sauce, or salty seasonings.
While there are many variations of this dish, visitors looking to pair memorable cuisine with unforgettable experiences should head to Taki.
You can find this great Gifu Prefecture restaurant near the hiking course for Utsue 48 Waterfalls and camping fields. While here, you should check out the outdoor hot spring and bedrock bathing.
Gohei Mochi is a skewered, grilled rice-cake. The centuries’-old dish is a food tradition, local to Gifu prefecture, a few other prefectures in central Japan.
It began as a quick meal for workers to enjoy with sake and miso, often eaten in hopes of a good harvest. The recipe is now a staple at shrines and festivals in Gifu.
Gifu restarants serve Gohei Mochi in a variety of ways, from long, rounded pieces to thinner, flat ovals. But it is important that they’re skewed and grilled in order for it to be considered Gohei Mochi.
Rather than use rice meant for mochi, Gohei-mochi is made with regular rice pounded and placed on a skewer, marinated/seasoned with sauce, and then grilled over an open flame.
Travellers can find freshly-cooked Gohei Mochi at the Takayama Festival and most markets in the prefecture.
International travel is on the horizon. And Japan could be one of the first countries to open to Australian visitors.
If you would like to discover more about Gifu Prefecture visit visitgifu.com.