Ogaki is a small/mid-sized city located 10 minutes by train from Gifu City, the capital of Gifu Prefecture. The population of Ogaki in 2012 was 164,000.
Most travelers will arrive via the Tokaido Main Line. The line runs from Maibara to the west through Ogaki and onward to Gifu, Nagoya, and Toyohashi. Although Gifu-Hashima Station is within Gifu Prefecture, those traveling by Shinkansen can get here faster by transferring at Maibara (from the west) or Nagoya (from the east).
The Yoro Line runs from the northern city of Ibigawa (Ibi Station) to Kuwana down in Mie Prefecture. The Tarumi Line connects Ogaki with Motosu, although if you're in Motosu, you probably already went through Ogaki to get there.
The Sunomata area can be reached by bus from Gifu Station.
Ogaki is a city divided into three disconnected areas thanks to city mergers. Most travelers will be coming to Ogaki Station. This area is the city center and original Ogaki. The castle and Matsuo Basho museum can be reached on foot. Akasaka Station is within walking distance of Akasaka-juku, the 56th station of the Nakasendo.
The merged districts are Sunomata and Kamiishizu. Neither of these areas has a train station, so you'll have to take a bus to reach them. Ogaki City Community Bus has lines to the Kamiishizu area. Meishin Kintetsu Bus connects Ogaki with the Sunomata area (buses bound for Shotoku Gakuen Daigaku).
- 1 Ogaki Castle (大垣城), ☏ +81 58-474-7875. 09:00-17:00. Ogaki Castle is an important historic site. The Battle of Sekigahara actually began here before moving west to Sekigahara, where the battle ended. The original castle was destroyed in World War II, so the current castle was reconstructed in 1959. Inside it is a museum with information about the castle and the Battle of Sekigahara. ¥100.
- 2 Oku no Hosomichi Haiku Journey Museum (奥の細道むすびの地記念館). A museum dedicated to the famous poet Matsuo Basho's journey from Edo (Tokyo) to the Tohoku Region, known as The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Oku no Hosomichi). While Ogaki is obviously not in Tohoku, the museum is here because his journey ended here. There is a 3-D video theater that shows a few different videos throughout the day, and the rest of the museum features exhibits on Basho's travels from the beginning of his journey to the end. There is also a room featuring other historic figures connected to Ogaki. ¥600.
- 3 Funamachi Port and Sumiyoshi Lighthouse (船町港跡と住吉燈台). More commonly known as Oku no Hosomichi Musubi no Chi (奥の細道むすびの地) in Japanese, it was Ogaki's port along a canal that connected it to Kuwana. Matsuo Basho took a boat from the port after completing his trip through Tohoku, and a statue of him is located along the canal. The lighthouse was built in the Edo Period. The canal area is known as a scenic spot in the city and is especially popular during the cherry blossom season when the blossoms billow out over the water.
- 4 Moriya Tadashi Art Museum (大垣市守屋多々志美術館). Born in Ogaki, Tadashi Moriya was a well-known nihonga artist. The museum features his works with permanent and special exhibits.
- 5 Sunomata Castle (墨俣城), 1742-1 Sunomata, Sunomata-cho. Nickanamed "Sunomata Ichiya Castle" (墨俣一夜城), the castle is famous for the tale that it was built in just one nigh (ichiya). It was indeed built very quickly, but took a couple days rather than a single night. It was not actually a castle with a donjon like you see today. The original site was built as a fortress with wall and towers by Toyotomi Hideyoshi as part of the campaign to overtake Gifu Castle (Inabayama Castle). The modern structure was built in the 1990s as a museum with information about the former castle, a diorama depicting what it looked like and information about famous castle battles in other parts of the country. It's a popular place to visit in the spring when the cherry blossoms bloom.
- 1 Aqua Walk. A shopping mall just outside Ogaki Station. It contains most of the same shops as Morera (the largest mall in Gifu Prefecture) but is much easier and cheaper to access by train.
- 2 Aeon Town. Aeon Town is a small mall with a variety of clothing shops, a sports shop, the large Sleeping Factory, and various entertainment and specialty shops along with some restaurants. Aeon Town consists of two buildings with Korona World between them.
- 3 Tsuchiya (つちや). A local sweets shop that has been in operation since 1755. The original shop sold persimmon sweets which Mino Province (southern Gifu Prefecture) was known for and is still renowned for today. The shop continues to sell various persimmon sweets but also sells a variety of other goods. The shop is located along the historic Minoji Road which connected the Nakasendo and Tokaido Roads long ago. The building is old and has unique architecture. For those walking along the Minoji Road it is hard to miss.
- Tsuruokaya (鶴岡屋). A ramen and donburi restaurant.
- 1 Chorky's DINER (チョーキーズ ダイナー). A hamburger diner.
- 1 APA Hotel Ogaki Station (アパホテル 大垣駅前), 1-150 Takaya-cho, ☏ +81 0584-73-4111. Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 11:00. A nice hotel outside Ogaki Station. Singles from ¥12,000.
- Gifu Gifu City is 10 minutes away by train (¥230), and has about 400,000 people, making it the go-to "city" in Gifu prefecture.
- Nagoya Nagoya is definitely a good city-getaway if you feel suffocated by the ample countryside of Ogaki.
|Routes through Ogaki|
|Maibara ← Sekigahara ←||W E||→ Gifu|
|Ibigawa ← Gōdo ←||N S||→ Yoro → Kuwana|
|Motosu ← Ibigawa ←||N S||→ END|
|Hikone ← Sekigahara ←||W E||→ Gifu Hashima → Ichinomiya|
|in to ←||N S||→ Yoro|
|Sabae ← Echizen ←||N S||→ END|