GIFU Prefecture

GIFU Prefecture

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Skiing in Gifu Japan

Snowboarding and skiing in Gifu is not high on the agenda for most international visitors to Japan, yet some of the Gifu ski resorts, particularly those around the Guju area, are incredibly popular with people living in the Kansai regions of western Japan. For example, Nagoya with its population of 2.3 million, is only 1.5 hours drive from the Dynaland Ski Resort. The big cities of Osaka and Kyoto are also within easy reach.

Gifu is not renowned for abundant natural snowfalls like parts of Nagano, Niigata, Tohoku or Hokkaido, so it often isn’t considered a priority destination for powder hounds, even though by international standards the snowfall volumes are quite respectable. Gifu has its place for intrepid powder hounds who want to explore and can wait for the right snow conditions, especially if you get away from the resorts that are ridiculously busy with weekend warriors.

Where is Gifu?

Gifu Prefecture is located in the Chūbu region of Honshu. Gifu is adjacent to Nagano Prefecture to the east and Toyama Prefecture to the north, whilst other bordering prefectures are Ishikawa, Fukui, Shiga, Aichi and Mie.

The capital of Ishikawa, Kanazawa, is popular with tourists for its many Edo-era buildings and classic Japanese gardens, and is to the northwest of Gifu, only 1:30 hours drive from Takayama City or 2 hours from Dynaland Ski Resort.

Gifu Ski Resorts

There are 20-plus ski resorts in Gifu and the number of ski areas continues to dwindle as they struggle to remain financially viable. As one example, Ciao Ontake was a powder hound gem but unfortunately after flood damage in 2018 was unable to re-open.

There is a cluster of ski resorts in the Guju area (central west part of the prefecture), most of which are accessible by bus from Nagoya and Gifu. A joint lift ticket covers many ski areas in this region including Dynaland, Takasu, Hirugano Kogen, White Pia Takasu and Washigatake.

Dynaland is the big name in Gifu ski resorts and it gets absolutely swarmed on weekends. It’s decent sized by Japanese standards and is also interconnected with Takasu. Together the two ski resorts are called Dantotsu. Takasu is also very trendy with Japanese snowboarders and is renowned for its pipes and terrain parks.

Near Hida in the northern part of the prefecture are a few ski resorts, whilst another major collection is near Takayama in the north east part of the prefecture. North of Takayama are various unexciting ski resorts. East of Takayama is Honoki Daira Ski Resort (Hounokidaira), which is also run of the mill, and nearby is Hirayu Onsen. The Hirayu Onsen village with its abundance of ryokan with onsen is a major drawcard, whilst the little Hirayu Onsen ski area is quite unique because of the really gnarly tree skiing and steep sidecountry. Like most other Gifu ski resorts, it’s a case of waiting for the snow conditions to be primo before it becomes worthwhile.
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