Local cuisine utilizes the bounty of the mountains, such as hoba leaf and river fish.
Located almost in the center of Honshu, Gifu Prefecture is divided into the southern lowland Mino area and the northern Hida area, which borders the alpine region. Since both areas are inland and thus lack coastal access, the locals have cultivated a food culture that relies on the blessings of the mountains. One such ingredient is hoba leaf, essential to the local cuisine of Gifu. Native to the forests of Hida, the hoba magnolia plant is prized not only for its pleasant fragrance, but also for its bactericidal effects. The mountains of Gifu are also home to various kinds of delicious river fish, such as ayu (sweetfish), char and eel. Grilling these fish gives the white flesh amazing flavor. Gifu locals are also known to eat roasted pickles (as "pickle steak”), giving this regional cuisine a rather uncommon reputation among the Japanese.
Hoba miso is born from this area’s heavy snowfall.
Hoba miso refers to miso baked on hoba leaves. Topped with dried shiitake mushrooms and scallions, the whole dish is baked together. It’s simple but delicious: paired with rice, you could eat bowls of it! This local cuisine was born in the Hida area. Foodstuffs would freeze in the heavy snowfalls of Hida, so meals were warmed on the hearth before eating. The dish was invented when frozen pickles were roasted using thick, flame-resistant hoba leaves. Hoba has since become a staple of Gifu’s local cuisine—from simple ingredients grilled atop hoba leaves to hoba miso-grilled Hida beef.
Kei-chan chicken is the home-cooked taste of the Gero district.
Speaking of Gifu’s local cuisine, another dish enjoyed with rice is kei-chan chicken. Said to have originated in the home cooking of Gero and Gujo areas, this prized local dish consists of chicken marinated in sauce and stir-fried with cabbage. The flavor of the sauces used can vary widely among restaurants. Some have a soy sauce base, others the rich flavor of garlic, while some have a more intense miso base. It’s a lot of fun to discover the taste you prefer. Kei-chan goes well with rice for sure, but it becomes more powerful local cuisine when it’s combined with beer. At Suginoko restaurant, located in Gero, diners often like to finish off kei-chan with fried yakisoba noodles.
- 1311 Ogawa, Gero-shi, Gifu-ken
- Opening hours
- 11 A.M. – 3:30 P.M.
- Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 1-hour flight from Haneda Airport.
- Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 100-minute flight from Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport.
- Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 75-minute flight from Sendai Airport.
- Chubu Centrair International Airport is a 65-minute flight from Matsuyama Airport.
- Meitetsu Nagoya Station is about 28 minutes via the Meitetsu express line from Chubu International Airport Station.
- Gero Station is about 110 minutes from Nagoya Station.
- Suginoko is a 30-minute walk from Gero Station.