Japan: A Closer Look at Chubu – Part 1

Dec 8th, 2008 | By Shane Sakata | Category: Featured Articles, Regional Travel Resources

The Chubu region of Japan lies in the center the country’s main island, Honshu, and has coasts on both the Pacific Ocean and the Japan Sea.  The region is home to more than 21 million people and is made up of nine prefectures.  Due to the size of the region, the Closer Look at the Chubu will be broken into three parts:  Part 1 will cover Aichi, Fukui and Gifu, Part 2 will cover Ishikawa, Nagano and Niigata and Part 3 will cover Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi prefectures.

The Pacific Ocean side of Chubu, including Aichi and Shizuoka prefectures, is the main corridor between Tokyo and Kyoto and is often overlooked as a destination by travelers who might only catch a glimpse of this beautiful part of Japan from the windows of the shinkansen (bullet train) as they make their way between the two popular tourist destinations.  Japan: A Closer Look at Chubu will hopefully inspire you to explore this region of Japan so let’s get started with some with planning resources and information by prefecture:

Aichi Prefecture

Tagata Shrine The capital of Aichi is Nagoya, Japan’s fourth largest city and the prefecture is home to Japan’s automotive and aerospace industries and many historical sights and famous festivals.

  • Click on this Map of Nagoya to learn about the things to do and see in the city highlights include:
    • Nagoya Castle is famous for it ’shachihoko’, the golden orcas, sometimes referred to as dolphins, that adorn the roof of its castle tower.
    • Tokugawa Art Museum will help you enrich your knowledge of Japanese traditional culture and what the life samurai, or feudal warrior, was like.
    • Learn about Shibori, the traditional art of tie-dying at Arimatsu-Narumi Shibori kaikan or make a reservation and experience it for yourself.
  • Visit Meiji Mura to see the main entrance hall of the Imperial Palace Hotel that was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and was move hered when the hotel was renovated and redesigned.
  • Attend the Owari Tsushima Tenno Matsuri, one of Japan’s major festivals, that has a history dating back over 500 years and features makiwara-bune boats alight with lanterns floating along the Tenno River in the area around Tsushima Shrine each July.
  • Visit the Tagata Jinja and the Hounen Matsuri (a festival celebrating fertility and renewal), which is held here every March 15th.
  • Learn the history about the history of washi (Japanese Paper) at Washi-no-Furasato in Toyota City.
  • Visit the Kunizakari Museum of Sake in Handa City to see how the process of making sake has changed since the Edo period and then stop by the tasting corner to taste some of the regions best sake.
  • Visiti Nishio City to in May and June to witness the tea harvest.  Nishio City is Japan’s leading producer of powdered green tea (matcha) which is used the traditional tea ceremony.

Download this map of Aichi Prefecture (PDF) to plan your trip and take advantage of preset itineraries to make the most of your visit to Aisci prefecture.

Fukui Prefecture

Eiheiiji Temple Fukui Located on the Sea of Japan, residents of Fukui Prefecture have the second longest life expectancy in Japan.

Learn more about the sights of Fukui by browsing through Fukui Sightseeing Information or the Fukui City website.

Gifu Prefecture

Gifu is a rich agricultural area with rice, vegetables and dairy being the predominant crops.  The area is also home to a number of aquaculture installations, aerospace and information technology companies.

Gifu Tour Guide offers information about other things to do and see in Gifu and offers model routes for tourists.

Odd Facts & Trivia

Yatomi Town in Aichi prefecture is known throughout Japan as a breeding center for goldfish.  Goldfish bred in Yatomi were taken into orbit aboard the space shuttle Columbia.

Fukui prefecture is home to some sites that will be of interest to US presidential trivia buffs.  Masunaga Optical Manufacturing Co. Ltd., the manufacturer of Sarah Palin’s famous eyeglass frames and the much written about City of Obama are located in the prefecture.

Chubu Trip Planning

Visit the Chubu Area Tourism Portal to learn about more great things to do and see in the region and to review the ten thrilling scenic sites of Chubu and the sample itineraries for visitors.

Other articles in the Japan: A Closer Look series:

Image Credit:   Flickr, Tagata Shrine, Eihei-ji,  & IMG_0459 edit

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8 comments
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  1. Great post, very informative and I enjoyed reading it. That last photo of the street in Gifu is absolutely wonderful. There’s something about it that I just love.

  2. Looking forward to part 2 and Ishikawa. Kanazawa was the first city in Japan in which I lived. I have to say that it is my 2nd favorite city in the country.

  3. Kurlach, I’m glad that you found the article helpful - I really love that last photo too.

    Billy, these are enjoyable posts to pull together and I learn a bit more about each region as I write them. Part 2 is in the works as we speak. So, what is your favorite city in Japan? Tokyo?

  4. [...] the Chubu region of Japan and are the subject of A Closer Look at Chubu Part 2.  Last week we took a closer look at Aichi, Fukui & Gifu Prefectures and Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi will round out our closer look at the region.  If you are [...]

  5. [...] Chubu region of Japan and will complete our Closer Look at the area.  We’ve already taken a closer look at Aichi, Fukui & Gifu Prefectures as well as Ishikawa, Nagano & Niigata Prefectures.  If you are planning a trip to Chubu take [...]

  6. [...] Takayama is located in Gifu Prefecture, one of nine prefectures that make up the Chubu Region of Japan. [...]

  7. [...] taste these regional specialties and learn about more things to do and see in the region by reading Japan: A Closer Look at Chubu Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 and keep reading The Nihon Sun to see our closer look at Kansai coming [...]

  8. [...] Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in Gifu and Toyama [...]

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