Gifu Castle (Gifu-jo) is located on the top of Mount Kinka (Kinka-zan) overlooking the city of Gifu and the Nagaragawa in Gifu Prefecture.
My first visit there was in 2010 on a rather overcast day. But despite the weather I was still in awe of its beauty and the views from its observation deck.
There are two ways to get to Gifu Castle. You either take one of the hiking trails or take the more leisurely 3 minute ride on the Kinka Ropeway (Kinkazan Ropeway). On all of my three visits, I have used the ropeway as it offers spectacular view of the North/North West side of Gifu, though I have walked down from the top once.
Once you reach the end of the ropeway journey there is a pleasant walk up to the castle itself. It takes approximately 10/15 minutes depending on your pace and fitness level.
The castle is now just a shell museum full of weaponry or other artifacts from the castles history. And it pleasured me to see that the castles history has been translated into English.
I definitely think making the trip up to Gifu Castle is worth the 200yen entry (more if you use the ropeway), if just to be able to look at the castle close up and the views of Gifu and surrounding areas from atop Mount Kinka.
While visiting Mount Kinka, be sure to check out Squirrel Village. And don’t forget to check out the Kinka Ropeway’s panorama summer nights viewing, where you get a 360° view of the region.
At the base of Mount Kinka is the beautiful Gifu Park (Gifu Koen). The park has many attractions including Nawa Insect museum (a must see), Gifu City Museum of History, the Eizo & Toichi Kato Memorial Art Museum, the gorgeous 3 storied pagoda, and not to forget the fountain, lakes and rest areas.
Gifu Park is also home to the Gifu Park Illumination festival held between July and August, the Chrysanthemum Doll and Flower Festival which runs from October to November, cherry blossom (Sakura) viewing in April, and firefly viewing in summer.