Located just two hours from Tokyo, is the historic city of Gifu. On the first Saturday and Sunday in October the city is host to the annual Nobunaga Festival.
Although he was born in Aichi, Oda Nobunaga, one of the samurai warlords of the Sengoku period, used Gifu Castle to launch his campaign for a unified Japan. He resided in Gifu for nine years until 1576, during which time he moved his headquarters to Azuchi (present day Shiga Prefecture). Just as he was about to realize his dream of unifying the country, Nobunaga was overthrown by his general in 1582 and forced to commit suicide. The event is known as the Honnoji Incident. He was 49 years old at the time of his death.
The Gifu Nobunaga Festival, one of Gifu’s most famous festivals, honors the feats and achievements of Oda Nobunaga and draws spectators from all over Japan. As with most festivals in Japan, there are many enjoyable activities and events all weekend long in downtown Gifu City. The most notable of these is the memorial ceremony which takes place at Sofukuji, the Nobunaga family temple and the samurai warrior procession down Nagarabashi-dori (Gifu’s main street).
The procession features several of Japan’s famous historic figures including Oda Nobunaga, Lady Nohime (his wife), Toyotomi Hideyoshi (who succeeded Nobunaga) and Luis Frois (Portuguese missionary who befriended Nobunaga). It starts at 12:30 PM from Gifu Station and ends around 2:30 PM at Gifu City Hall. The entire festival runs from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and is free to attend.
The festival is definitely a must see if you want to get a glimpse into Japan’s feudal past!
Web page: www.gifucvb.or.jp/en/02_event/02_06.html