A lot of the traditional handicrafts and art that hail from Central Japan, known as a manufacturing hub since ancient times, are highly admired in Japan and around the world. Why not see, touch and experience the handicrafts and art in each of the different areas. We are certain you will fully enjoy the profound and alluring aspects of manufacturing unique to Central Japan.

Day 1
Sample Kobo  Gujo Hachiman Castle  Gujo Castle Town  Shirakawa-go and Gokayama 
Day 2
Takayama City (old castle town, sake cellars, morning market)  Oku-Hida Spa Village 
Day 3
Azumino Art Line  Daio Wasabi Farm  Matsumoto Castle  Former Kaichi School  Matsumoto City Museum 
Day 4
Lake Suwa  Suwa Taisha (Suwa Grand Shrine)  Tsumago and Magome 
Day 5
Toki Premium Outlets  Oribe Hills Toki  National Treasure Inuyama Castle  Nagoya Castle 
Day 6
Noritake Garden  Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology  JR Central Towers  INAX Museums  The Pottery Path 
Sample Kobo
Gujo Hachiman is the birthplace of the plastic food samples seen outside virtually every restaurant in Japan. Gujo city currently has 11 food sample manufacturing companies engaged in making 60% of the food samples in Japan. There are several stores that sell these food samples to the general public and such items as cute key chains of unique food items are very popular. Some stores offer classes where you can try your hand at making a variety of food samples.
◎Gujo Tourism Federation (official website)
http://gujokankou.com/en/
Gujo Hachiman Castle
Gujo Hachiman Castle is the oldest wooden reconstructed castle in Japan. Though small in scale, this castle is also considered the most beautiful mountain castle in Japan, and offers a spectacular panoramic view of the castle town from the castle tower.
◎Gifu Prefecture Tourism Federation (official website)
http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/
Gujo Castle Town
Known as the castle town of Gujo Hachiman Castle, this town is famous for its high quality spring water which has been selected as one of the 100 Exquisite and Well-conserved Waters of Japan.
◎Gifu Prefecture Tourism Federation (official website)
http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/
Gujo Odori dance festival Period: mid July to early September
Gujo Odori is one of the most famous Bon festival dances in Japan and at times the festival draws up to 250,000 people. Tourists are welcome to join in the dancing.
◎Gifu Prefecture Tourism Federation (official website)
http://travel.kankou-gifu.jp/en/
Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
The villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are still home to historic Gassho-style houses traditionally constructed in areas of Japan with heavy snowfall. The Gassho-style architecture, characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof allowing snow to fall straight off, resembles two hands joined in prayer which is said to be the origin of the name Gassho, meaning “prayer hands” in Japanese. With some houses built over 300 years ago, the villages received UNESCO World Heritage Site designation in 1995. Japan’s rural landscapes which showcase the beauty of the four seasons are an immensely valuable asset.
◎Shirakawa Village Office (official website)
http://shirakawa-go.org/english/
◎Gokayama Tourism (official website)
http://www.gokayama.jp/english/index.html
◎Shirakawa-go Tourist Association (official website) Japanese only
http://www.shirakawa-go.gr.jp/
Takayama City (old castle town, sake cellars, morning market)
The historic townscape of Takayama that flourished as a castle and merchant town in the old days still remain to this day giving visitors the sensation of traveling back in time. The streets are lined with a wide variety of business establishments such as sake breweries producing sake which is recently gaining popularity around the world, stores specializing in folk art, and various places to eat. We recommend a ride in a rickshaw for those of you who want to explore the streets of the old town in elegance. The professional rickshaw drivers who know Takayama like the back of their hands will show you the unique features of the city. At the daily morning markets, you’ll find fresh fruit and vegetables as well as folk art and other souvenirs.
◎Takayama City Tourist Information (official website)
http://www.hida.jp/english/
Hida Beef
Hida beef is one of the best known foods of Takayama. Hida beef, raised in an ideal climate and environment under the meticulous eye of producers, is regarded as top quality beef.
Oku-Hida Spa Village
Oku-Hida Spa Village is a general term used for the area consisting of five hot springs in Takayama city, Gifu prefecture. Each of the hot springs is located in a peaceful location in the midst of nature with open-air baths offering superb views of the magnificent scenery. The area is particularly well known for its beautiful fall foliage.
◎The Association of Oku-Hida Spa and Tourism (official website)
http://www.okuhida.or.jp/world/english/
Azumino Art Line
Eighteen museums and galleries scattered throughout Azumino and surrounding area make up what is called the Art Line. Enjoy viewing art and nature’s beauty through modern artwork, pottery and photographs.
◎Azumino Tourist Association (official website)
http://www.azumino-e-tabi.net/en/
Daio Wasabi Farm
At Daio Wasabi Farm, one of the largest wasabi farms in Japan, the wasabi crop is irrigated using spring water flowing from the Hida Mountains. If you take a stroll through the vast wasabi fields you’ll come upon the watermill which was the setting for the Japanese movie Yume (Dream) directed by the great Akira Kurosawa. Buy freshly-picked wasabi at the shops which are also famous for their popular wasabi croquettes and wasabi ice cream. You can also try your hand at making wasabizuke (wasabi cut up and mixed with sake lees) and take it home with you as a souvenir.
◎Azumino Tourist Association (official website)
http://www.azumino-e-tabi.net/en/
Matsumoto Castle
As one of four castles designated as National Treasures of Japan, Matsumoto Castle which has remained intact for over 400 years, is of great historical value. The castle is also known as the “Crow Castle” due to its distinctive black lacquer exterior. With the vicinity of the castle maintained as Matsumoto Castle Park, the castle stands out boldly against the backdrop of the four seasons from cherry blossoms in spring, to colorful leaves in autumn, and snow in winter. We also recommend a visit to the castle at night during certain periods of the year when the castle and its surroundings are lit up.
◎Matsumoto City Government Website
http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp
◎General corporation Matsumoto Tourism & Convention Association (official website)
http://www.matsumoto-tca.or.jp/en/
Former Kaichi School
The Kaichi School was an elementary school built during the Meiji period of modernization (Over 130 years ago).
◎Matsumoto City Government Website
http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp
◎General corporation Matsumoto Tourism & Convention Association (official website)
http://www.matsumoto-tca.or.jp/en/
Matsumoto City Museum
Located on the castle grounds, the Matsumoto City Museum displays historical records and folk material related to the Matsumoto Castle.
◎Matsumoto City Government Website
http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp
◎General corporation Matsumoto Tourism & Convention Association (official website)
http://www.matsumoto-tca.or.jp/en/
Shinshu Soba
Due to the cool climate and large plots of land suitable for growing soba (buckwheat), the area around Matsumoto has been famous for its soba production since ancient times. You’ll also find facilities where you can make and eat your own soba.
Lake Suwa
Lake Suwa is the largest lake in Nagano Prefecture and is a popular place for recreation and relaxation all year long.
◎Nagano Prefecture Official Tourism guide
http://www.go-nagano.net/
Suwa Taisha (Suwa Grand Shrine)
Suwa Taisha consists of four building complexes located around Lake Suwa and is considered one of the oldest shrines in Japan.
◎Nagano Prefecture Official Tourism guide
http://www.go-nagano.net/
Tsumago and Magome
Tsumago and Magome, which served as post stations along the vital Nakasendo Route that connected Kyoto to Edo (current Tokyo) in the Edo Period, has maintained the charm of bygone days and still thrives as a popular tourist destination. Souvenir shops reminiscent of the old post station days line both sides of the street. The view of the beautiful townscape as you walk down the stone-paved slope and the magnificent sight of the Kiso Mountains that spread out in the distance are a definite must see.
◎NakasendoKisoji Magome-juku Magome Tourism Association (official website) Japanese only
http://www.kiso-magome.com/
◎Tsumago Sightseeing Association (official website) Japanese only
http://www.tumago.jp/
Ukai (Cormorant Fishing) Period: May to mid-October
Ukai is a traditional fishing method in which fishermen use trained cormorants to fish in rivers. Enjoy the spectacle from sightseeing boats.
◎Gifu Convention and Visitors Bureau (official website)
http://www.gifucvb.or.jp/sightseeing/ukai.php
Toki Premium Outlets
Toki Premium Outlets is a large-scale outlet center featuring approximately 140 brand-name stores selling clothes, sports products, sundries and other merchandise.
◎Toki Premium Outlets (official website)
http://www.premiumoutlets.co.jp/en/
Oribe Hills Toki
Oribe Hills Toki features various stores selling affordable Shino ware, Oribe ware, Western-style tableware, glassware and lacquerware.
◎Oribe Hills Toki (official website) Japanese only
http://www.oribe-hills.com/
National Treasure Inuyama Castle
Inuyama Castle is one of four castles designated as a National Treasure of Japan. Known for having one the oldest surviving wooden castle towers in Japan, this castle was constructed in 1537 by Oda Nobuyasu who was the uncle of Oda Nobunaga, the great hero of the Warring States Period. Devoid of flamboyancy, the castle is appreciated for its vulgarity which is said to convey the tense atmosphere of the Warring States Period. Besides the many old merchant houses and historic residences that remain standing in the castle town, you will also find “Joan”, a teahouse designated as a National Treasure, nestled inside the peaceful and ancient atmosphere of the Urakuen Garden.
◎Inuyama Tourist Information (official website)
http://ml.inuyama.gr.jp/en/
◎National Treasure Inuyama Castle (official website) Japanese only
http://inuyama-castle.jp/
Nagoya Castle
Constructed in 1612 under the orders of Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Edo Shogunate Government, Nagoya Castle has a history spanning 400 years. The golden Shachihoko adorning the roof of the castle tower is one feature in particular that is regarded as one of the symbols of Nagoya, the largest city in Central Japan. Exhibited inside the main castle tower, you will find Important Cultural Assets and historical records, an area featuring a recreation of the historic townscape of the castle town, and a life-sized replica of the golden Shachihoko. The observation deck offers a panoramic view of the town of Nagoya and the lush greenery of Meijo Park below.
◎Nagoya Castle Official Website
http://www.nagoyajo.city.nagoya.jp/13_english/index.html
Nagoya-meshi (Nagoya cuisine)
“Nagoya-meshi” refers to cuisine unique to Nagoya and surrounding areas and includes such dishes as Miso-katsu—pork cutlet served with thick miso sauce, and Hitsumabushi—thinly-chopped grilled eel on a bed of rice.
Noritake Garden
Noritake Garden is a commercial complex founded by Noritake, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of high quality china and porcelain. The facility features a museum showcasing Noritake masterpieces, a restaurant and café.
◎Noritake Garden (official website)
http://www.noritake.co.jp/eng/mori/
Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology
With exhibits mainly focused on textile machinery and automobiles, the museum displays about 150 actual machines in working order to highlight the historical transitions of manufacturing.
◎Toyota Commemorative Museum of Industry and Technology (official website)
http://www.tcmit.org/english/
JR Central Towers
The JR Central Towers is a commercial complex located atop the Nagoya Station and featuring a department store, hotel and restaurants. The high-rise building, which consists of two buildings, one with 53 floors and the other with 51 floors, is the world’s highest station building at 245 m tall and is a popular landmark in Nagoya. On the 51st (uppermost) floor of the office tower is the Panorama Salon, comprising an esthetic clinic, beauty salon and cafeteria, where the general public can also enjoy the spectacular view.
◎JR Central Towers (official website) Japanese only
http://www.towers.jp/
INAX Museums
At the INAX Museums situated in the pottery town of Tokoname, you can explore the many alluring features of pottery.
◎INAX Museums (official website)
http://www1.lixil.co.jp/ilm/english/
The Pottery Path
The Pottery Path is a sightseeing walking path based on the theme of pottery. The path is dotted with pottery-related workshops, stores and cafes.
◎Tokaname Sightseeing Association (official website)
http://www.tokoname-kankou.net/english/
Expressway toll(the CEP, NEP and AIP) CEP + NEP + AIP fee 46%
off
22,230yen
Within the CEP area 17,400yen
Within the Optional Area(NEP)3,030yen
Within the Optional Area(AIP) 1,800yen
12,000yen
CEP fee 9,000yen
NEP fee 1,500yen
AIP fee 1,500yen

*If you would like to use a Central Nippon Expressway Pass, please tell the staff when you make your rental car reservation.