For the fans of ‘Your Name’ or ‘Kimi no Na wa (君の名は。)’, Hida Furukawa is a must see during your visit in the Gifu Prefecture. This blog is going to be all about comparing scenes in real life to the movie, plus the magic and culture of this quaint city.
We travelled by car through all of the Gifu Prefecture. You can get to Hida Furukawa by car from Takayama in approximately 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the train and disembark at Hida Furukawa Station and walk through the town.
Ketawakamiya Shrine is a sacred part of Hida’s history. You can climb the steps of this sacred shrine and also get a snap along the way as you might recognise it from the film!
Learning about Furukawa Festival & the Okoshi-Daiko
After walking through the old town we found ourselves at the Okoshi-Daiko (Rousing Drum) which is used in the Furukawa Festival the museum close by, we learned more about the festival.
Furukawa Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Japan. The festival is held annually, on the 19th and 20th of April. On the afternoon of the 19th, beautifully decorated festival floats parade throughout the town. At around 9pm, you’ll start to hear the sound of the Okoshi-Daiko as it is carried through the town and hit continuously by two men. Twelve groups of semi-naked men are in pursuit of the Okoshi-Daiko while carrying a three meter log staff, and run through the streets wearing only a white cloth. They are competing for the most prestigious spot, determined by how close they are to the drum.
This is a massive tradition in Furukawa, and if you happen to be in town during the festival you’ll have to come through and spectate. Make sure you find a safe spot as it appears to get quite rowdy!
We had a go ourselves at hitting the Okoshi-Daiko, but really didn’t do the drum justice. I guess we’ll leave it to the festival goers!
You can find out more information on this museum here Hida Furukawa Matsuri Hall
Kumihimo (組み紐) is a Japanese form of braid-making. It’s the intertwining of ropes to make unique braid patterns. I had a go myself in Hida Furukawa at a shop called Obora, where the owner showed me how to make my own braid, and I was able to turn it into a bracelet. This activity takes roughly half an hour.
If you’ve seen Your Name, you might recognise what’s going on. I’ve never seen anything like it, but you can tell it’s a very traditional and old art form just by looking at the technique. It’s a super fun and unique activity to do in Hida Furukawa, and also very therapeutic. I wish I could have stayed for a few hours!
You can find out more information on this activity here Kimono Oobora
Sake Brewey Tour
After drinking a lot of sake during our trip, we took a sake brewery tour with Cody from the Watanabe Sake Brewery, where I learned a lot about the process of sake making. The brewery is just a five minute walk from Hida Furukawa Station.
Although I’m not a big drinker, I always find factory tours to be so interesting, because it really is an art form to produce sake. I love learning about the passion and people behind the brewery, as all operate differently and have such unique stories! The tour was unique as Cody showed us some real quirks about the brewery. I won’t reveal too much so you can find them out for yourself. I will say though, that I was lucky enough to help in kneading/massaging the sake rice, which felt so good for my hands. No wonder they use sake in skincare treatments!
You can buy the same sake bottle from the film ‘Your Name’ here along with a large range of other sakes produced by the factory. The way the factory names and packages their bottles has made them famous throughout Japan. I was given the most special souvenir here, with my own name printed on a sake bottle, which I’ll truly cherish forever!
If you wish to book a tour you can find out more at Watanabe Sake Brewer
Candle Making Shop
We visited the Mishima Japanese Candle shop in Hida Furukawa, which was the cutest surprise. It has a small traditional shop front, but inside you’ll find the cutest old man making Japanese candles. It’s one of less than ten candle shops in all of Japan that still make Japanese candles. I learned that Japanese candles are made and burn differently to western candles. Essentially, they are vegan and made of all natural materials, and burn with less smoke, but a brighter light. Interesting, huh? I’m yet to try mine that I brought home as a souvenir!
In my blog on Gero, I also mentioned eating Hida beef, but I guess you have to have it in Hida Furukawa because that’s where it comes from! If you find it at little shop stalls along your journey, make sure to stop and try some!
Gohei Mochi & lunch at Ajidokoro Furukawa
As mentioned earlier in my Shirakawago blog, Gohei Mochi, can be commonly found in the area. If you happen to find it anywhere, I’d recommend giving it a try. However, if you are in Hida Furukawa, you’ll have to look out for Ajidokoro Furukawa shop, which is the exact location the characters in Your Name ate Gohei Mochi. They knew that I was coming and so they put my name on the shop sign – everyone was so sweet and kind here! We had a traditional local lunch here with dishes including Hida’s Local produce menu, some of which I had never tried before. I’m all about trying new things and experiencing it like the locals. If you are too, this is the place to be!
Hida Furukawa is another one for the books. You’d be surprised what you can get out of visiting such a quiet little town. We loved all that we saw in Hida Furukawa, and so if you’re planning a trip through the region, make sure you stop through!
You can visit Hida Furukawa for just a few hours, or a whole day, depending on what you want to do. During the Spring/Summer time, there is a famous hiking trail with an amazing view around Hida Furukawa & Takayama, but we didn’t get to do this for obvious reasons. Perhaps on our next visit!
For more information on Hida Furukawa, you can visit www.hida-kankou.jp