One of my favorite things about Gifu is Gifu Station. There’s an entire mall inside the station filled with cool shops, delicious restaurants, and an import grocer I spend far too much money at. When you exit the station, standards remain high, as there are beautiful plazas on either side of the station filled with trees, benches, and open space. When I first came to Japan, I’d spend several hours enjoying the amenities in and around Gifu Station every Friday. I’d shop inside and lounge under a tree in the plaza outside. I always looked forward to Fridays for this reason, and even if I don’t have so much spare time to wile away in this way anymore, I’ll still indulge occasionally.
In one of the plazas, there’s a big, golden statue of a very famous figure from Japanese history: Oda Nobunaga. It’s a prominent structure framed by the open plaza and manicured trees with Gifu City proper looming in the background. It’s quite a sight to take in when you exit the station, and even after a full year in Japan, I’m still blown away every time.
More recently, Nobunaga picked up a new accessory. He’s a model citizen and has been courteously setting an example for everyone when they’re out and about in public: wear a mask. That’s right! Nobunaga himself is wearing a cute, white, fabric mask these days, just like everybody else. It makes him feel like a lot more of an everyman these days than he was historically, and I personally find that dichotomy amusing. Now, every time I walk out of Gifu Station to see him, I’m not only awed but also entertained.
Stay safe out there, everybody!