Gifu’s position in central Japan has made it a valuable piece of land for many years, and its history is tinged with political struggles and battles. In 672, the Jinshin War took place here, resulting in the crowning of Emperor Temmu. The name itself was given to the prefecture by Oda Nobunaga in 1567 when he was trying to unify Japan. The name, combining kanji from the mountain by which China was unified and the birthplace of Confucius was supposed be central unifying theme.
During the Shogunate, the provinces of Hida and Mino made up most of what is now Gifu Prefecture as well as small parts of Echizen and Shinano. During this time, Gifu was well known for its sword makers. Today, fashion and aerospace have become sources of fame in the prefecture.
Gifu Prefecture is one of only seven landlocked prefectures in Japan and borders Aichi Prefecture, Fukui Prefecture, Ishikawa Prefecture, Mie Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture, Shiga Prefecture, and Toyama Prefecture.
The land in Gifu is largely divided with mountains in the northern half and fields and plains in the south, including Nobi Plain. The majority of the population lives in the southern half of the prefecture for this reason.
Gifu Prefecture’s traditional sources of income include paper making and agriculture and recent developments include aerospace and automotive technologies. Many small component factories and die/mold making factories also populate the area. Traditional industries still operate, including many kinds of papers, lanterns, umbrellas, pottery, cutlery, and lacquerware.
Tourist attractions in Gifu Prefecture include the cities of Gifu, Gero, Shirakawa, and Takayama. Gifu in particular is known for its long history, and role as one time home to Oda Nobunaga and Saito Dosan. Hot springs and historic villages are equally as popular and more than one UNESCO world heritage site exists in Gifu.
Gifu Prefecture is home to multiple universities, including Asahi University, Gifu University, Chubu Gakuin University, and many more.
Located within Gifu Prefecture are the following major cities:
Additional districts and towns located in Gifu Prefecture include: