I’m often asked if there is a place in Japan that reminded me of the United States. In Tokyo, probably not. But going farther out to Gifu, visiting Ogaki, the place reminded me a lot like home.
With the home of Toyota not far, one thing that you will noticed that many people in Ogaki are driving cars. Also, Ogaki has a simpler lifestyle because it looks almost like the locations in Central California with agriculture, not many huge buildings, mostly homes, apartments and if anything, surrounding mountains.
And if they need to travel and ride the train, they could park their car at the Aqua Walk Shopping Center.
But of course, the Aqua Walk Shopping Center is the where you can find many locals from Ogaki visting.
The two-story shopping center is where one can shop for clothes at UNIQLO, ABC-MART, to name a few. The place has many dozens of fashion shops and service-based shops such as massage, hair salons, eyewear and even places to furnish your home.
The location also has several restaurants on the first floor such as McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Wakashachiya, Family Viking to name a few and a second floor food court with fast food places like First Kitchen, Sukiya beef bowl restaurant, Sugakiya ramen, Baskin Robbins, Crepe Ojisan and more.
But as crowded the place may look, don’t be fooled by the many cars making you think the place is too packed, as many of the cars are parked there for Osaki Station.
Further down, many cars are there to go grocery shopping at the huge Apita grocery store is next door.
But it reminds me of my hometown that I was born and raised. While a shopping mall is nearby, many travel far to the next city over and in the case of those living in Ogaki, Nagoya is not that far from the area. So, another reason is you’ll find locals traveling from Ogaki to Nagoya for shopping but also to catch a concert and during the winter, to travel and go skiing.
It’s convenient to just park near Aqua Walk or Apita and head to Ogaki Station.
But Ogaki is not a desolate place. It’s the home of Ogaki Castle, Sunomata Castle, OGaki City Folk Museum, Kodomo Science Plaza, Akasaka Port Hall and the Oku no Hosomichi Museum. Also, Omiwa Shrine, Kagano Hachiman Shrine, Tokiwa Shrine, Koyasu Shrine and several historical sites as well.
So, there is quite a number of things to find in Ogaki, beside the Aqua Walk Shopping Center and Apita. But it’s one of the few locations where I find renting a car may be beneficial to tourists wanting to explore the area.