Gero-city Maze, Hida region,
Gifu prefecture Japan

岐阜県下呂市馬瀬(日本)

Maze - a typical mountain village as it was before industrialization. No traffic lights, not even a convenience store! Forget about the busy city life for a moment of relaxation – limpid river water, limitless greenery, outdoor activity programs, authentic and savory food await you.

Maze is located at the southern tip of the Hida area of Gifu prefecture, in the central part of mainland Japan. Hida is known for mountains and has been supply center of timber. It is close to renowned tourist spots like Gero (considered one of the top 3 spas in Japan), Takayama (called little Kyoto for old merchant streets), and Shirakawa-go (UNESCO world heritage site of traditionally straw-thatched roof houses).

gero onsen
Gero Onsen
gero onsen
Takayama street
Shirakawa go
Shirakawa-go
Japan map
Japan map
access details

Maze (population 1,400) is a mountain village, at 500m high, long 25km from North to South, and wide 4km East to West. Over 90% of the village is steep slopes covered with forest of ceder and cypress, and at the bottom runs the Maze river.

This river is famous for Ayu (sweetfish unique in East Asia) fish, Amago trout, and other freshwater fish. Mountains surrounding the Maze river need to be in good shape for fishing to assure steady supply of clean water.

Freshwater fish of Maze

We have luckily kept away from rapid industrialization that changed the whole landscape in other parts of Japan. Old wooden houses remain as before.

For example, small shrines closely related to each hamlet, to which city dwellers pay little attention, are still well maintained, and play important roles in villagers' daily life. Work on the fields does not start before sunrise, and finishes before sunset. Late autumn harvests stay below the snow cover, a natural refregirator for vegetables. Local fishermen are on the river at 5am, and can start working in offices at 8am. You hear chain-saw machines instead of BMX motorcycles. There are no traffic lights.

You feel like a time traveler and stay relaxed. When you come to visit us, you will find these scenes of "good old days". Though not a big and fast and efficient resort, we have something which appeals to people looking for memories.

Fishing Center Mizube no Yakata
フィッシングセンター水辺の館

The Fishing Center Mizube no Yakata is located right in front of the limpid Maze river. Easily accessible, many people visit to escape from the city heat and get refreshed. We have a covered BBQ site facing the river, a shallow Trout Hand Catch pond, and the center house is used as a base of outdoor activities like canyoneering and forest adventure rope course. The manager speaks English and French, and is planning to establish a language school in the future.
Please note: the Fishing Center will be closed during winter from 20 November. In 2015, it will be open from April and will be run by a local tourism association. Out of the experience programs below, Rope course / canyoneering / village adventure programs for non-Japanese tourists will be operating at a office located nearby. We will provide more information when details are fixed.

Experience programs

Fishing by hand – Amago trout

Catching trout with bear hands Ever touched a live fish? Fish with bare hands like our ancestors did! Popular program with kids. Cost: 2,500 yen for 5 fish, 3,500 yen for 10 fish. Booking recommended. What after? Amago tastes best when salted and grilled on a charcoarl fire - additional fee 500 yen for 5 or 10 fish. Environmental education: We teach how to clean the fish and prepare for BBQ. Many guests love this.

Riverside BBQ

BBQ in front of the riverBring food yourself, or book set menus. Cost: 1) Table with charcoal  - 2,500 yen for 3 hours, 2) Per person charge - 300 yen for adult, 200 yen for under 15.
Book set menus for empty hands!
★Kay-chan set: Marinated chicken, served with vegetables. 630 yen per person
★Hida beef and pork set:
The famous Hida beef and grain-fed prok, served with vegetables and fried noodle. 2,000 yen per person (minimum 2 persons). Please note: the closest supermarket is 15 min away at Hidahagiwara.

AYU Fishing

Ayu fishingAyu sweet fish is different from trout in that the fish eats algae on river rocks. The traditional "Friend fishing" methods takes advantage of Ayu's territorial behavior and use a cultured live fish as bait. This traditional fishing method is taught July through August.
Duration: 9h - 12h or 13h - 16h. Cost: 12,000 yen for one on one lesson, 8,000 yen / pers if 2 guests. Max 2 participants per guide. Lesson fee includes fishing tackle, fishing license and wetsuites hire. Advance booking required.

For experienced anglers

Maze river, through its stretch of 28 km, boasts alternance of shallow riffles (providing oxygen and food) and deep pools (for escape and rest), ideal habitat for freshwater fish. Trout fishing is open from end of February throughout September.

Fishing in the Maze river is controlled by the fishery cooperative. Daily fishing license is sold at: Ayu fish – 2,500 yen, other fish – 1,000 yen. Free for under 15 years old, half price for women. Gear hire at the Fishing Center (bait cast rod with salmon roe bait) - 1,000 yen.

Tenkara fishing: Tenkara is a traditional Japanese fly fishing method and uses a fixed length line, not like the Western method using a reel. This technique suits Japanese narrow headwater sections with trees and bushes with not much room for casting. Upperstream area of the Maze river is wild with big rocks and complex currents, offering interesting fishing for native trout lovers. The Fishing Center has developed relationship with Tenkara USA, who first introduced tenakra fishing outside of Japan. We consider organizing trips combining fishing + canyoneering + onsen experiences. Please click the photo below to see a youtube video.

Tenkara USA fishing and canyoneering

 

Canyoneering

canyoneeringFeel the amazing freshness of clear water! You walk through the narrow gorge, over and under streams. You go through tunnels, dive, and go under waterfalls for meditation like a monk (why not?). After 1 hour walk, you reach the climax – a waterfall of 21 meters vertical drop!
Operation: June through September, meeting at 9:30 or 13:30. Duration: 3 hours round trip, including transfer from the fishing center and walking access. Difficulty: beginner / intermediate Kids: accepted from 6 years old (minimum height 120 cm). Fee: 5,000 yen including guiding, equipment hire and insurance. Operates with minimum 2 participants. Booking close: 2 days before.

Canyoneering with rappel

rappel down on waterfallFor people familiar with rock climbing rappeling. The session includes rappeling down a 15 meters waterfall, swimming in the pool, jump into the river water, and swimming. Because of difficult access it is easy to observe fish under water.
Duration: half day including transfer. Difficulty: intermediate. Kids: minimum 150 cm and should be sportive. Operates with minimum 4 participants. Fee: 7,000 yen including guiding, equipment hire and NO INSURANCE. This is a not a regular program and operates on advance booking only.

Ninja Forest

canyoneeringOur HIDA region has been known as a forest country since ancient times. Visit our Forest Adventure Park and feel the thrill of new heights. There are 16 different workshops. Operation: end of April till mid November, meeting at 9:30 or 13:30.
Duration: 2 to 3 hours including transfer from the fishing center. Difficulty: beginner / intermediate. Kids: minimum 140 cm. Fee: 3,000 yen including guiding, equipement hire. Operates with minimum 2 participants. Booking close: 2 days before.

One day discovery program

Village adventure!

canyoneeringA full day program to explore our mountain village with rich nature, including pickup at the nearest train station. Guiding in English or French.
Operation: Monday, Thursday and Friday, excluding 10 July - August. Programs: Mid June - end of September: canyoneering + lunch + exploring the mountain village. Except for above period: Forest Ninja + lunch + exploring the mountain village. Cost: 8,000 yen / pers including transfer, activities and lunch. Size of group: 2 to 4. Advance booking: necessary. In case of bad weather, we propose traditional Japanese cooking as alternative activity. For example, photo on the left is Ho-ba sushi, a trout sushi wrapped in a magnolia leaf, which represents our early summer. Overnight options: Several options exist - 1) BB in a local family's house (2,500 yen), 2) room only in a family inn (4,000 yen), 3) traditional Japanese inn (11,880 yen for 1/2 board), or 4) an onsen hotel (8,500 yen - 14,000 yen for 1/2 board). Prices are per person.

Train schedule (JR Takayama line). Note: marked schedules are limited express train.
AM 7:14 Takayama - 8:02 Hidahagiwara
8:00 Takayama - 8:35 Hidahagiwara
9:38 Takayama - 10:24 Gero
6:53 Gifu - (8:51 Gero) - 9:09 Hidahagiwara
7:45 Nagoya - 9:19 Gero
PM 17:19 Hidahagiwara - 18:08 Takayama
17:41 Hidahagiwara - 18:17 Takayama
16:12 Gero - (17:36 Gifu) - 18:02 Nagoya
17:27 Gero - (18:39 Gifu) - 19:03 Nagoya

Access

JR Takayama line: Hidahagiwara station is at 15 minutes drive from the Fishing Center. It takes 30 minutes from Gero but there are many express trains stop there. From Nagoya to Gero is 1h30 by express train, from Takayama is 30 min or 1 hour (express train). Taxi from Hidahagiwara costs abour 3500 Yen. Please click for train schedule in English. Buses are not running at practical hours. Car rental: possible from the Gero station, with Orix Rent-a-Car, Tel +81-576-23-0543. Access map to Maze in PDF.

Contact

Address: 1508-1 Nishimura Maze, Gero-city Gifu ZIP 509-2615. Tel & Fax +81-576-47-2841 e-mail mizube★mazegawa.com (please replace ★with @). The manager, Rocky Osaki, speaks English and French. Skype ID: rockyjapon-gifu.

Open hours
End April - June & Sept 10:00 - 16:00 closed Tue and Wed
July & Aug 9:30 - 17:00 everyday
Oct - mid Nov 10:00 - 16:00 open weekend and holidays