The magnificent onsen town in Gifu!
This post is about the onsen town, Gero.
As mentioned, Gero in the Gifu prefecture is an onsen town and in fact, it is known throughout Japan for its onsen. It is said that during the Edo period, Gero Onsen (下呂温泉) was referred to as one of Japan's three best onsen by the Confucian poet Hayashi Razan.
It is located between Nagoya and Takayama, about an hour from Takayama and to be honest, unless you were doing a route similar to what I did, I wouldn't recommend you make a trip specially here.
But if you were spending a night here as a stopover, then you definitely won't regret it.
According to Wikipedia, over 91% of the city area is covered by mountains and forest and the Hida River and the Maze River run throughout the city - so I'm guessing these pictures (by Zachary of course) are of either river, though I'm not sure which haha.
There are three public bath houses available in the town and there is also a large rotenburo (open-air bath) you can bath in for free. However, I would strongly recommend that you book a stay at one of the numerous ryokan in the area. I usually use JAPANiCAN or Rakuten Travel for my ryokan bookings.
We chose Gero Onsen Bosenkan!
It is probably our second or third most pricey ryokan stays (the first being Blue Mermaid in Wakayama) but really well-worth every single penny.
For a start, the place is GORGEOUS.
It is not a new facility, its history dates back nearly 100 years but the ryokan - though old - had a certain charm to it.
I especially love how it is surrounded by magnificent gardens and because we were there in winter, everything was white and pure.
And as for their hot springs, they have a variety you can choose from. Open-air baths (separate for men and women), private open-air baths in the garden that you can pre-book and footbath with a view of the Hida River.
Remember the husband's obsession with Hida beef?
They serve A5 hida beef over here, grilled with miso in Houba Leaves.
And when paired with their Koshi Hikari specially grown in water from the Hida Maze River, you pretty much taste heaven.
There was some celebration when we were there so we got to catch fireworks from our balcony!!!
(Ok, I just googled. There's actually this Winter of Gero Hotspring Fireworks Story festival that for 3 months every year as winter transits to spring, you get to enjoy fireworks every Saturday. Wah!)
So as I was saying, there isn't actually much to do in Gero except enjoy your fabulous ryokan stay and all the onsen you can get (the hubs even set his alarm to wake up at 5am to squeeze in another soak before breakfast wtf). But as the town is rather small, I don't think there's much sightseeing to be done. Everything also closes pretty early so I would think one night's stay is sufficient. You can check in, then do a quick walk around the town, before returning to your ryokan for dinner and a good rest. And before leaving the next day, do head to Meijiya Sobaten for handmade soba and their famous bamboo sushi!