When it was first built, in 1204, the castle from Gifu received the name of the mountain it sits on, Inabayama. Three centuries and a half later, in 1567, the famous warlord Oda Nobunaga conquered the Inabayama Castle and changed both the name of the castle and the name of the surrounding area (previously known as Inokuchi) to “Gifu".
The new name was carefully selected, and it was probably a hint to Oda Nobunaga’s dream to became the “great unifier” of Japan. Thus, the first character “gi” 岐, comes from Qishan (岐山), a legendary mountain from which the ancient China was unified and the site of the first capital of the Chinese Zhou dynasty. The second character, “fu” 阜, means “base of the mountain", but comes from Qufu (曲阜), the birthplace of Confucius…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: