Tag Archives: Visiting

Kimi no Na Wa (the Movie Your Name) and the Land of Hida

Posters of Hida Kanayama by Shiho Tokuda

The Movie Kimi no Na wa (君の名は)

Did you know that the block-buster move, Your Name, takes place in Hida as well as in Tokyo? Not only is it a terrific movie, it is highly relevant to followers of this Iwakage blogsite about Kanayama Megaliths and Hida Kanayama.

Hida Furukawa is the real-life name of the movie town of Itomori where Mitsuha lives with her sister and grandmother. Through life in Itomori, we learn about traditional culture, shrine rituals and festivals. We eventually come to realize the deeper meaning of the movie. We discussed some this on the Okunomichi blogsite. 



There are many hits when you search on keywords from the movie. You can easily find the places in Tokyo where the scenes in the movie take place. With a little more effort, you’ll learn the places in Hida that are depicted. People are talking about pilgrimages to these places in Hida.

May I suggest a mini-pilgrimage to the Kanayama Megaliths?

Now, let’s point out some scenes from the movie that are relevant when visiting Hida and Kanayama.

Hida Kanayama Train Station

If you take the Hida Wide-View express train to Hida Kanayama station, you already know how quaint the station is. There is the station-master’s room (and sometimes he’s not even there when you arrive). There are only two tracks, one going north and the other south. There is a covered overpass with stairs at each end (no elevator) to cross over the tracks. The train station in the movie is modeled after the Furukawa station. It looks almost exactly like the Hida Kanayama station!

Posters of Kanayama

Inside the waiting room of the Hida Kanayama station, there are some very large posters showing the beautiful vistas of Kanayama and the Kanayama Megaliths. These are the creations of our very own Shiho Tokuda. You can see three of her posters at the top of the earlier post.  And here they are again. There is a scene in the movie where Taki’s friends are in the lobby discussing the trip to Itomori. In the background behind Miki Okudera and Tsukasa can be seen the bottom halves of posters. The posters resemble, but are not the same as Kanayama Megaliths, the waterfalls, and the kinkotsu walking tour of Kanayama.   

The Megalith

The goshintai of Grandmother’s shrine is the megalith in the center of the meteor crater. Mitsuha goes there with Grandmother and leaves the kuchikamizake there in the iwaya cavern of the megalith. Later, Taki enters the cavern and finds the sake. Not all megalithic structures in Japan have caverns, so this is unusual. Although the megalith in the movie does not physically resemble the Iwaya-Iwakage of the Kanayama Megaliths, I felt that they were still very similar to each other. If you have been inside the Iwaya-Iwakage, you may have the same feeling of sanctity and mystery.


Photo of Myoken Shrine in the cavern of Iwaya-Iwakage

I can’t help but feel that Makoto Shinkai, before making the movie, went to Kanayama and visited the Kanayama Megaliths. He has a deep sense of the nature of the land of Hida. Why don’t you come and discover Hida Kanayama for yourself?




What to do and where to stay when visiting Hida Kanayama

  • What is there to do in the area?

Besides enjoying the local food? And shopping? There are many activities you can enjoy in the Kanayama area. Most of them are outdoors such as the Kanayama Megaliths, walking to four lovely waterfalls, and camping and fishing. You can also visit the Iwaya Dam.

There is also a unique activity called Kinkotsu-meguri, or walking the backstreets of Old Town. These scheduled tours are offered by volunteer tour guides who will show you the old post road to Edo (now Tokyo).

You can see how sake is made right in Kanayama town, with water from the clear Maze River. The brewery makes the famous Okuhida sake — and a fine vodka as well.

When in the gift shops, besides shopping for gifts, be sure to look for the frozen cases where Hida ice cream is sold. The rich taste comes from the happy cows of Hida.   

Three posters are shown at the top for  the Kanayama Megaliths, the Four Waterfalls, and the Kinkotsu-meguri. They are from the Kanayama Tourist Association.

  • What facilities and accommodations are available?

Onsen hot springs 温泉

1.     Yuttarikan 湯ったり館 –  日帰り天然温泉 Day trip natural onsen hot spring

Kanayama, Kanayama Town, 973-2, Gero City, Gifu Prefecture (along national highway No. 256) 岐阜県下呂市金山町金山 973-2(国道256号線沿い)TEL 0576-33-2492.  http://www.yuttarikan.jp/.  Open-air bath, sauna. Private room bedrock bath and aroma treatment. Restaurant. Local souvenirs.

2.     Karen Onsen かれん (see below)

Where to Stay in Kanayama:

1.     Hotel: Karen かれん

Onsen hot spring inn at Nukumorinosato michinoeki roadside station. From all the rooms you can view the clear stream of the Maze river. Restaurant serving local cuisine and sake. Onsen. Gift shop. Kanayama, 911-1, Gero City, Gifu Prefecture (along national highway No. 256). TEL 0576-32-4855.  http://nukumorinosato.com.

2.     Hotel: Fukuzumi  福寿美

Hotel located a 7 minute walk from the JR Hida-Kanayama Station in Gifu. Japanese style rooms with wifi. Fukuzumi prides itself on its local cuisine of wild vegetables and river fish. 2132-1 Kanayama, Gero City, Gifu-ken, Japan 509-1622. TEL 0576-32-2015.  http://www.k-fukuzumi.com/en/.  A lot of tourist information in English. 

3.  Minshuku: Nakanoya なかのや

Gero City, Kanayama, Yuhara 386-17. (Iwaya dam lake side). TEL 0576-35-2448

4.  Minshuku: Shichifukuzan 七福山

Gero City, Kanayama, Soshino 1190-5. (National Route 256 along Wara River). TEL 0576-35-2731

5.  Ryokan: Mitsukiya  見附屋旅館

Gero City, Shinjayama 222-11 (National Route 256 along the Maze river). TEL 0576-35-2013

6.  Ryokan: Shimizuya  清水屋旅館

Gero City, Kanayama, Kanayama 2219-3  (along the former Hida highway).

Tel 0576-32-2324

The accommodation information is from the Kanayama Tourist Association.



Visiting Kanayama Megaliths

Photo of Mazegawa taken from the train by IR.

The megaliths of Kanayama are not difficult to get to. They are in the heart of Gifu Prefecture which in turn is in the center of the main Honshu Island. From Nagoya, the third-largest city in Japan, it is a pleasant 75-minute ride north on the JR Wide-View Hida express. On the last leg you will enter Hida Kanayama, the southern end of the ancient land of Hida. Your train will ride alongside the Mazegawa, a lovely south-bound stream. There are villages with fields of rice and tea and flowers, with enfolding mountains in the background. All too soon you will disembark at the little station of Hida Kanayama (Hidakanayama, all one word on the route-scheduling site www.hyperdia.com/en). From there, you can phone a taxi to take you to one of the comfortable lodgings where you can enjoy a hot onsen. This area is blessed with wonderful hot springs.

When you are not visiting the megaliths, you may take the kinkotsu footpath-walking tour of Kanayama town. You’ll see the back yards of families living in this post town since the Edo period. There is the 鎮守山 Chinjyusan hill topped by Kannondou hall where the warrior,  両面すくな Ryoumen Sukuna prayed for the safety and wellbeing of the Hida people. Unfortunately he was hunted down by Yamato forces and killed. If you look up his name, you will find him described as a demon with two heads and four arms. Probably the two faces of Sukuna were the fierce aspect toward his enemies and the kind aspect for his people. To those of us in Hida, he is our hero!