Enjoy your trip to Gifu experiencing its unique food culture nurtured by the abundant nature,
as well as selecting special souvenirs of choice even locals love.
Check out the local specialty gourmet food made with agricultural products grown in mountainous areas with large temperature variations, and freshwater products nurtured in clean water coming from these mountains. The local food culture is definitely worth a try!
"The ayu of the clear Nagara River System" has been designated as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). In the past, its distinctive taste and flavor mesmerized feudal warlords. During the Edo Period, it was repeatedly served to shoguns of the Tokugawa Shogunate after being processed into a fermented dish called "nare-zushi". Today, ayu has grown popular as a local specialty and can be found on store shelves at super markets during the summer in Gifu. However, it requires professional cooking skills to broil it with salt in a way that the fish is cooked fluffy while its skin turns crispy. For those who would like to enjoy this authentic taste and flavor, ryokans offer freshly-broiled ayu to their guests. Ayu zosui (rice porridge cooked with ayu) is also exquisitely delicious.
"Hida Beef" is characterized by its fine, tender disposition, the marbling of its fat woven into the muscle creating its rich but not too heavy taste and flavor. This excellent breed has been fostered with the affection of cattle farmers at the foot of Japan's Northern Alps that provides large temperature variations and clear water. Sink your teeth into Hida beef steak and "shabushabu" (dish of thinly sliced beef boiled with vegetables) to enjoy its flavor to the fullest. The title, "Hida Beef" is granted to the black-haired Japanese cattle raised in Gifu Prefecture that is graded in quality and yield as B3 or higher.
Thanks to its location in the middle of the country, Gifu is abundant in medicinal herbs that inhabit warm and cold places, especially, on Mt. Ibuki, situated across the borders between Gifu and Shiga Prefectures. "Mino Yakuzen (medicinal food)" is prepared with more than 120 kinds of seasonal ingredients harvested in Gifu Prefecture under the instructions of university professors and Chinese medicine experts. Based on the belief that "food is medicinal" according to Oriental medicine, Mino yakuzen is not only beneficial to one's health but also an enjoyable local cuisine.
Joined by chefs of the hotels and ryokans of Gifu Nagaragawa Onsen Ryokan Cooperative Association, this society was launched back in 1999 as a cuisine study group. Since then, they have been developing new menus featuring local food ingredients as well as sharing information. An example of this is "Omotenashi (hospitality) Dishes from Lord Nobunaga." This menu reproduces a set of dishes served by Oda Nobunaga, a great but hospitable feudal warlord in the Warring State Period. The chefs referred to historical documents in order to study this menu made from the best available food ingredients Nobunaga gathered in his territory back then. They evolved this course menu to suit the palate of people today.
Gifu people love to spend time at coffee shops. Most coffee shops in Gifu and Aichi Prefectures offer a special "Morning Service." With an order of a beverage, you are served complimentary food such as toasted bread, boiled eggs and salad. Each coffee shop provides their own unique set. This can be suitable for brunch.
"Ayu-gashi" is a Japanese sweet consisting of sweetened sticky rice wrapped in an oval, sponge cake-like dough. Prepared in a fish-like shape depicting "ayu," Gifu's representative fish, it has a chewy texture inside while the outer dough is rather fluffy. Its subtle, tender taste and flavor goes well not only with green tea but also with coffee and English tea as well. Each wagashi shop has their own unique ayu-gashi with different shapes and flavors. Enjoy discovering all the different kinds of ayu-gashi Gifu has to offer.