Thursday, June 18, 2009

Sugishima & Gifu

This past weekend we took a mini-getaway, starting at the Sugishima onsen (hot springs) inn. It was about a 2 hour drive away, but was more than worth it, the area was beautiful - surrounded by mountains and right next to a river where people were fishing for ayu (sweetfish). This is the entrance to the property.

The inn itself was beautiful, and features public hinoki onsen as well as two private rock baths that can be reserved. Our lodging was a two-level space with our very own private tub outside.

Both dinner and breakfast were included, and were spectacular - almost more food than we could eat, and all of it was delicious. The next morning we drove to the city of Gifu and took in a lot of sights. We rode the ropeway to the top of Mt. Kinka, toured Gifu Castle, and then hiked down the mountain. From there we went to see the Gifu Great Buddha, one of the three largest Buddhist figures in Japan.

By early evening it was time to see what had really brought us to Gifu, the cormorant fishing (or ukai in Japanese). It is hard to see clearly in the video, but there are three crew members on the boat, and one of them is handling a dozen cormorants that are all in the water catching ayu. The fire attracts the fish and also provides light to work by.

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