Gifu Castle – History and facts

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Gifu Prefecture was the site of many decisive battles in Japanese history. It was considered the center of forging, and it was where the second largest earthquake in the history of Japan, the Mino-Owari of 1891, occurred, where it opened a rift that can be seen to this day.

But in this article we will see one of the most important tourist spots in Gifu Prefecture, The "Gifu Castle". One of thousands of other castles scattered across Japan.

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Location of Gifu Castle

Gifu Castle (岐阜城 Gifu-jō) is located on top of Kinkazan (Mount Kinka), next to the Nagara River. It was originally built by the Nikaidō Clan between 1201 and 1204 during the Kamakura Period.

Its first name was Inabayama Castle (稲葉山城 Inabayama-jō). And since then it has undergone several renovations. To get there, the nearest bus is the Gifu-Koen-Rekishi-Hakubutsukan-Mae.

To get to this bus stop you need to use the N80 Takatomi Gifu Bus towards “Nagara-bashi” from JR Gifu or Meitetsu-Gifu Station. You can also take the bus that runs around Gifu City.

When visitors pay the Gifu Castle entrance fee, they also receive admission to the Gifu Castle Archives Museum, located approximately 70 meters from the Gifu Castle entrance.

Inside the museum, visitors will find more archives related to Gifu Castle and its past residents. The second floor focuses on musical instruments from Japan's past and present.

gifu castle - history and curiosities

History of Gifu Castle

A man named Takenaka Hanbei came to the castle to visit his ailing brother Saito Tatsuoki, with the true aim of killing him. When Hanbei struck him, Tatsuoki was very confused and ran away.

Hanbei obtained Inabayama Castle very easily. Later Hanbei returned to his brother's castle, but his reputation was lost due to his escape. When Oda Nobunaga attacked Inabayama Castle, Tatsuoki's men remembered this event and fled as well. Nobunaga took the castle for himself and made it his main base of operations.

Nobunaga renamed the fort the “Castle of Gifu” in accordance with an ancient Chinese practice and proceeded to renovate it to make it larger and more impressive. The castle was destroyed during a bombing during World War II, rebuilt in 1950 with concrete and wood.

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gifu castle - history and curiosities

Present-day Gifu Castle

In 1956 after its renovation, it was reinforced with concrete, with 4 floors, with a height of 17.17 m. A total area of 461.77M. Next to it, there is a museum for the castle, an arsenal where food was kept. We also have the Nobunaga statue as a great reference.

Currently Gifu Castle is a great tourist spot that brings a beautiful 360º panoramic view, the castle is not one of the largest in Japan, and it may even be simple, but it brings visitors a fun walk and a small cable car climb.  

Like every tourist spot, you'll find details of the castle's history, timeline and battles. Weapons of the time, and of course, thousands of products and souvenirs to buy.

There are many other details about this castle, a huge timeline with several events, but I had difficulties and didn't go into more details.

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