Slipping into a hot spring is a common practice in Japan. Gero City, located two hours north of Gifu City, one hour east of Nakatsugawa and one hour south of Takayama, is famous for its onsens (hot springs).
Gero city sits on either side of the Hida River on the border between the northern Hida and southern Mino regions of Gifu and was considered by Hayashi Razan, a confucian scholar o the Edo period, one of the top three onsens in Japan. Today Gero remains a popular onsen community in the Chubu region and in Japan. The main onsen area, Gero Onsen, has three different waters in three different areas. On the train station side of the river, the water is like sitting in silk. On the opposite side, the water is smooth and up in the mountains above the route 41, the water is creamier.
Besides Gero Onsen, Gero City also has other onsen locations such as Kanayama Onsen, Miki no Yu (Maze), Yuya Onsen, Shimojiima Onsen and Nigorigo Onsen which is located at the highest altitude of any spa in Japan.
Osaka district, just 20 minutes north of downtown Gero boasts the title of having the most waterfalls of any community in Japan including the amazing 63meter high Neo Waterfall. Also due to the waterfalls, Osaka has a world-class kayaking course used for training by Japanese Olympic athletes.
Because of its long history related to the onsen industry, many temples and shrines have been built to celebrate the bounty that came from the valley and to thank nature for what it has provided the people.
Like every town, Gero has their own local delights and specialities. For Gero it is Hida Beef, river trout, mountain vegetables and sake. They claim that because of the sweet water of the region, they are blessed with a garden of wonderful foods. When you stay at a Gero hotel, much of the vegetables will be local and the beef is so tender you can cut it with a fork.
If you are on your way to Takayama, Furukawa, or any other part of Hida by car or train, you will go through Gero City. Get off at the station, walk the downtown, try out the onsens and have a good meal.