Chubu, the home to Mount Fuji and many ski resorts is the ideal destination for tourists seeking an escape filled with art and culture. Visit the snow monkeys or the many national parks in the area, there are places begging to be explored in this region. Chubu is a region filled with the most authentic Japanese cuisine that cannot be found elsewhere.

TRAVEL AND LOCAL FOOD INFORMATION

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    Nagoya Castle Hattori Hanzo Ninjas

    Aichi Prefecture is home to some of Japan’s famous warlords, and is recognised as the birthplace of ninja culture. At Nagoya Castle, you can watch an acrobatic ninja performance by Hattori Hanzo and the Ninjas, and learn more about ninjas. Not to be missed is ‘Nagoya Meshi’ cuisine, which includes quirky dishes like spicy Taiwan Noodles and Curry Udon. ...Read More

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    Yotsuya Senmaida Rice terraces, Aichi

    One of the most stunning views of Yotsuya is of terraced rice paddies known as senmaida, or ‘1,000 rice terraces’ crammed into a hillside that only stretches 90 sq.m. Join the locals for their annual spring planting festivities, and sample some rice-based snacks like inari (rice wrapped in tofu skin) and goheimochi (grilled rice cake). ...Read More

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    Nagahama Hikiyama Festival, Shiga

    Held in April, the Nagahama Hikiyama Festival features beautiful, elaborate floats called hikiyama. A vestige of the Edo era, these are moving theatres that host kabuki shows – performed by boys – as they are paraded through town. While in Nagahama, sample the local specialty of Yakisaba Somen, a soupy noodle topped with slow-cooked mackerel. ...Read More

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    Noto Kiriko Festival

    The isolated Noto Peninsula celebrates spectacular night festivals that feature Kiriko – giant lanterns that light up hundreds of summer parades. Some parades end up in the ocean, while others feature huge bonfires. Noto’s popular dish is the Ishiru Nabe, a seafood hotpot flavoured with a local fish sauce called ishiri (or ishiru). ...Read More

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    Tea leaf picking in Makinohara, Shizuoka

    Shizuoka Prefecture is famous for its rolling fields of tea plantations, as it produces almost half of the country’s green tea. Experience tea leaf picking and learn about the production of tea in the Makinohara region as you sample tea-related products like cha soba and ice cream. The area is also famous for its wasabi, eel, and gyoza. ...Read More

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    Takayama Festival, Gifu

    Hida-Takayama is Gifu Prefecture’s shining jewel boasting a well-preserved Edo-era town. Locals flock here for the Takayama Matsuri in spring and autumn, when elaborate floats are lit with lanterns, and showcase puppet performances of Japanese legends. As you enjoy the festivities, munch on local street specialties like Hida beef sushi and goheimochi (grilled mashed rice). ...Read More

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    Wara Art Festival, Niigata

    As Niigata is a major rice producer, you can sample rice products like senbei (crackers), sasadango (sticky rice stuffed with red bean paste), and sake. You can enjoy these foods while checking out the annual Wara Art Festival where giant straw sculptures of dinosaurs, gorillas, and other creatures are made using rice straws gathered after the harvest. ...Read More

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    Kumano Kodo, Kii Peninsula

    Located in western Japan, the Kii Peninsula is a centre for Shinto worship that’s dotted with ancient Shinto shrines that are linked via a network of historic pilgrimage routes known as the Kumano Kodo. One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the culture is to sample shojin ryori – a vegetarian Buddhist cuisine that incorporates five flavours. ...Read More

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    Hikone Castle Insect Concert, Shiga

    When autumn arrives, the well-preserved 17th century Hikone Castle in Shiga Prefecture plays host to a unique concert involving insects as part of its Night Illumination Festival held in the Genkyu-en Garden. When it comes to food, funazushi (fermented carp), omi champon (soup noodles), and Omi beef are some of the prefecture’s specialties. ...Read More

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    Koina Tiger Dance, Shizuoka

    Situated on Izu Peninsula, the Kinomiya Shrine hosts a unique Koina Tiger Dance that enacts an Edo-era play. This is held together with the mid-autumn festival in September, when moon-viewing parties (tsukimi) are in full swing where you can savour traditional snacks like tsukimi dango (rice dumplings) and tsukimi soba or udon which are topped with raw egg. ...Read More

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    Obara Shikizakura Festival, Aichi

    If you’re in Aichi in November, check out the cherry blossoms of shikizakura which bloom in spring and autumn. At the Obara Shikizakura Festival, ogle at over 10,000 blooming cherry trees against a backdrop of autumnal foliage. The region is also famous for hatcho miso – a bold flavour used in dishes like hitsumabushi (eel) and misonikomi udon. ...Read More

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    Karuizawa Momiji Festival, Nagano

    Autumn is a great season for leaf peeping, and in Nagano momijigari (maple leaf hunting) is a popular activity. In the upmarket resort town of Karuizawa, many locations – from scenic Kumobaike Pond to historic Mikasa Hotel – provide stunning views where you can sample local produce and Nagano-style soba. ...Read More

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    Kurobe Alpine Route, Toyama

    One of the most popular tours in Toyama is the Alpine Route which takes you across the breathtaking landscape of the Kurobe Gorge via cablecars, buses, and ropeways. One of the most scenic seasons is autumn, which is also a good time to sample local specialties like shiro ebi (white shrimp) and hotaru ika (luminescent firefly squid). ...Read More

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    Gassho houses of Gifu and Toyama

    One of the best ways to experience traditional Japan is to head to the valleys of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama to spend the night at a gassho zukuri – centuries-old abodes characterised by steeply-pitched thatched roofs. Not only are these villages living museums you can wander around in, you can also sample some local cuisine like iwana (char) and ayu (sweetfish). ...Read More

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    Skiing in Nagano

    Situated in the Japanese Alps, Nagano is one of Japan’s most popular ski destinations. Hakuba is its largest, comprising nine ski resorts and an international vibe, while Nozawa Onsen, dotted with traditional Japanese inns, has a more intimate feel. No matter where you go, local dishes like soba and sake are available everywhere. ...Read More

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    Yukizuri viewing in Kenrokuen, Ishikawa

    Winter is a great time to head to Kenrokuen Garden to see its pine trees decorated with yukizuri ropes to protect them from snowfall. These conical icons are recreated at the Kinpaku Kirara & Tree Fantasy Illumination in Kanazawa City – while you’re here, sample local favourites like zuwaigani crab and fermented kaburazushi. ...Read More

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    Biwa Winter Lake Cruise, Shiga

    The winter months create a spectacular scenery on Lake Biwa, which you can appreciate on board the Yukimisen cruise. Along the way, admire some of the temples along the lakeshore, including the vermilion torii gate of Shirahage Shrine in the middle of the lake. The area is a great place to sample locally-caught fish like carp and trout. ...Read More

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    Nabana no Sato Winter Illumination, Mie

    There’s no shortage of Instagram-worthy moments at Nagashima Resort’s Nabana no Sato – by day, you can appreciate colourful floral blooms, while at night the landscape lights up into an LED wonderland featuring illuminated tunnels and twinkling lights. Mie Prefecture is also famous for Matsusaka beef, one of the most prized wagyu in Japan. ...Read More

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    Kanazawa Gold Leaf and Chaya, Ishikawa

    Historic Kanazawa City is known for its well-preserved castle and samurai district, as well as for its geisha districts known as chaya (teahouse) – the most famous is Higashi Chaya where traditional teahouses still stand. Gold leaf, which has been produced here since the Edo era, is prevalent in everything ranging from lacquerware to food, including ice cream. ...Read More

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    Koka Ninja Village, Shiga

    Together with neighbouring Iga, Koka (Koga) is the homeland of the ninja. Learn about these stealthy assassins at the Koka Ninja Village, where you can try your hand at throwing shurikens. Immerse yourself further by sampling ‘ninja cuisine’ that once sustained their lean physiques – end the meal with a mysterious energy pill called hyorougan. ...Read More

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