Chubu is located in the center of Japan’s largest island, Honshu, and its name translates to “middle region”. It encompasses nine prefectures: Aichi, Fukui, Gifu, Ishikawa, Nagano, Niigata, Shizuoka, Toyama, and Yamanashi. The northern and southern parts are also known as the Hokuriku Region and Tokai Region respectively, and the prefectures of Yamanashi, Nagano and Niigata are known as the Koshinetsu Region.
The Chubu region attracts travellers from both within Japan and from overseas who seek an authentic, outdoor experience: its mountain ranges, cultural and traditional sites, and activities are unique.
It goes without saying that the iconic Mt Fuji – Japan’s tallest mountain – is a must-see for those travelling to Japan. Mt Fuji is not only a symbol of Chubu but a symbol of Japan, famous all around the world. However, Mt Fuji, isn’t the only feature worth visiting the Chubu area for. Chubu, in fact, is home to many other mountains, including the Japanese Alps. Those seeking a more off-the-beaten-track experience should consider hiking Hakuba Valley or visiting Nozawaonsen village.
Similarly, Nagano prefecture offers a variety of nature-related activities. Animal-lovers can see snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Monkey Park or Yamanouchi (home of hot spring bathing monkeys). There are many onsen, too, with great picturesque views, such as those provided by Yunoshimakan or Rurikoh.
There are also many places for those who enjoy immersing themselves in local culture and tradition. The Togakushi Shrine, for instance, has an interesting and important place in Japanese mythology, where the Sun Goddess hid herself in a cave due to her brother misbehaving, bringing darkness to the world. Furthermore, the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go is a historic village found in Gifu. A collection of historic farmhouses built in the unique architectural style known as gassho is the highlight of this well preserved village. Gassho translates to “hands together”, reminiscent of the steep, slanted roofs that keep the snow off during winter that look like hands in prayer.
Chubu is also no stranger to great food. The Japanese unagi (eel) here is considered to be the best in the country. Another delicious local dish, similar to udon and cooked with pumpkin or other vegetables in miso soup is known as “houtou” and can be found in Yamanashi.
Tours in Chubu
Heartland JAPAN offers the following tours in the Chubu region. Please have a look!