Gifu Castle 岐阜城
Founder Saito Dosan
Year 1509
Type Mountaintop
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Inabayama-jo
Reconstructed 1956 (concrete)
Structure 3 levels, 4 floors
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Historical Site Local Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles
Location Gifu, Gifu Prefecture
Map Google Map
Access Gifu (Tokaida Honsen) or Gifu Hashima (Shinkansen), bus to Gifu Park, ropeway or short hike up the mountain (
Website Gifu City
Visited July 1992, May 1996

Gifu-jo, originally called Inabayama-jo, is built atop the 338m Mt. Kinka in Gifu prefecture. A castle was first established here by Nikaido Yukimasa in 1201. Saito Dosan became the master of Inabayama-jo In 1539 and renovated it into what you see today. In 1567 Oda Nobunaga invaded Mino and took Inabayama-jo from Saito Yoshitatsu, the grandson of Saito Dosan. Nobunaga moved his headquarters here from Komaki-jo and renamed it Gifu-jo.

During the Battle of Sekigahara (1600) Tokugawa's forces captured Gifu Castle which was then controlled by Nobunaga's grandson Hidenobu. Tokugawa had no need for a mountaintop castle so he had it demolished.

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  • suupaahiiroo    January 11, 2017 at 10:26 AM
    As others have mentioned, the reconstructed castle keep is nothing spectacular, but the views from it are. The little shiryōkan near the main keep is hardly worth being called shiryōkan: they only had a simple (but nice) poster collection of castles throughout Japan. The perk: they had free brochures of some twenty-odd castles, so I took some of a few castles I have yet to visit. I recommend hiking up the mountain, it makes you appreciate the location of the castle better. It's a steep and rocky climb but it shouldn't be a problem for anyone of average health. Near the ropeway station and the three-storied pagoda at the foot of the mountain, they are currently doing excavations at the site where Nobunaga's palace once stood. Be sure to visit the daibutsu while you're in Gifu.
  • findlayjamie    January 03, 2017 at 06:58 PM
    I agree that the location is amazing (for the view) and the castle rather dull. One thing that surprised me was that the keep is completely different from the one that was destroyed in the war, of which photos can be seen inside. Why not reconstruct something that looks like the original, if you know what it looked like? So far as I know the other castles of which photos survive were reconstructed more like the originals.
  • ART    January 26, 2016 at 09:16 PM
    I arrived before the ropeway was open so I climbed Kinkazan. It might've killed me but visions of Gifu Castle kept me climbing. A lot of the route is rocky and steep but I enjoyed the climb and it took me about 45 minutes at a gambol.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    June 07, 2015 at 03:08 AM
    Quite a hike if you walk up to it, taking the gondola up is sensible, the walk down is tough, fantastic views.
  • Andi (From Indonesia)    May 02, 2012 at 12:48 PM
    I'll go there on Friday this week (Golden Week) I hope, I can get the special journey.
  • Pineapple sensei    October 22, 2011 at 01:34 PM
    I have been hiking up Kinkazan to Gifu Jou weekly for the past 6months! I reach the castle before the ropeway and castle itself is open usually; so it's mostly just us locals up there. I noticed last week that the exterior is looking worn (in need of some TLC!)... as said previously; the castle is a concrete reconstruction, though it still looks great reflecting the setting sun... There are a few lovely spots to get a photo of the castle among the trees. The view from the castle over Gifu City and towards Nagoya City is stunning
  • RaymondW on My Page    August 18, 2011 at 05:26 PM
    Some ishigaki have recently been found in the area where they think the palace once stood. The excavations are still ongoing.
  • Alamo6400    January 07, 2011 at 11:05 AM
    gifu castle or before when the saito ruled the province of mino inabayama castle did you know saito retainer hanbei takenaka betrayed the saito clan and joined the oda clan and killed saito or mino daimyo tatsuoki saito and owari's daimyo oda nobunaga conquered mino province and the saito clan
  • Alamo6400    January 07, 2011 at 10:56 AM
    oda nobunaga was one of the first ruthless miltary daimyo to control all japan
  • RaymondW    November 05, 2010 at 08:39 PM
    Not a lot going for this reconstructed concrete castle except for its spectacular views and a decent museum. If you are in Gifu, it is worth going to this castle for its view, but if you are strapped for time, you are better off visiting Inuyama Castle, Nagoya Castle, and Kiyosu Castle before making a bee-line for this castle. In a way, it is like Hamamatsu Castle but one with a view. I came here again because a friend visiting from overseas wanted to see it. To get to this castle, take the bus from Bus Stop No.11 just outside JR Gifu Station. The bus trip cost 200yen. I went to this place on Culture Day, and it was overrun with tourists. Note to self: give the popular Japanese castles a miss on public holidays.
  • Kris on My Page    October 26, 2010 at 01:27 AM
    Gifu castle has some amazing views. I really wanted to do the hike but didn't have the time. The mascot, Nobusama, is dignified and yet kawaii; he is also hekigan for some reason. You can also buy Gifu castle Nobunaga playing cards - Nobunaga is the King of Diamonds, I think. (Oichi should be the Queen of Hearts). The 100meijo stamp is on request in the castle museum.
  • furinkazan on My Page    October 14, 2010 at 06:57 PM
    I hiked up to this castle today.(@Webmater: little hike lol)It's a pitty that the montain is covered with trees, it's impossible to make a lot of nice photos of the castle. The castle itself isn't that fine(concrete), but the artifacts are interesting. Don't miss the little museum, which is in the price of the castle(=200yen).
  • Julian (from Canada)    October 23, 2009 at 09:23 AM
    Four years ago, we went to Gifu Castle finally after driving past it a couple of times. The castle itself is so-so, but the view is amazing.
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Gifu, Gifu Prefecture
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castle on the mountaintop