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Shirakawa-go

About | Access | Hotels & Lodging | Area Map | Attractions

 

About

Shirakawa-go (in Japanese: 白川郷, which means "White River Old-District") is a town near Takayama in Gifu Prefecture Japan and is best known for its houses that are built in the traditional Japanese style known as *Gasshou Zukuri (see below).

Shirakawa-go Japan

A farmhouse in Shirakawa-go Gifu Japan

The little village called "Ogimachi" (in Japanese: 荻町) within Shirakawa-go contains many of these Gasshou Zukuri homes/farms some of which are more than 250 years old. The town was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. However, after becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site, tourism greatly grew and some people who lived in the village homes turned their homes into gift shops and parking lots... threatening the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shirakawa-go is now extremely popular with Japanese and guests from overseas who come to see this beautiful little town that looks like something you might see in a fairy-tale movie.

Shirakawa-go Japan

Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go Gifu Japan

Gasshou Zukuri: Gasshou Zukuri (in Japanese: 合掌造) style houses have huge roofs that are steeply peaked. The name "Gasshou" is derived from the similarity of the roof shape and two hands in prayer. Typically these homes are 3 or even 4 stories high and are used for living, working and storage. The main reason behind the steeply shaped roofs is to accommodate the extensive precipitation, especially snow, experienced in many parts of Japan. The steeply peaked roofs allow rain and snow to fall straight off, preventing water from getting through the roof into the home. Of course when it snows, snow tends to collect on the room but when the sun comes out and it warms up, the snow tends to slide off.

 

 

Access

How to get to Shirakawa-go Japan

The "Access" Graphic above is a simplified "Quick Glance" at transportation options. Due to fluctuating schedules & pricing, Times & Costs are subject to change.
  • from Tokyo
    • Shinkansen & Express Bus - around 14,430 yen and takes about 3 hours 45 min. (+ transfer time)
      For those wishing to go to Shirawawa-go directly from Tokyo, this is your best option. You ride the Shinkansen to Toyama where you change to an Express Bus. From Toyama you can ride a Niho Bus, a Hokutestu Bus or a Toyama Chihou Railway Bus. Please visit the official websites for current information, timetables and fares.
  • from Osaka & Kyoto
    • Ltd. Express Train & Express Bus - around 9,000 yen and takes about 4 hours (+ transfer time)
      From Osaka and Kyoto you can ride the Ltd. Express Thunderbird train which will take you to Kanazawa. From Kanazawa you will need to ride a Niho Bus or a Hokutestu Bus. Please visit the official websites for current information, timetables and fares.
  • from Kanazawa
    • Express Bus - around 1,850 yen and takes about 1 hour & 15 min.
      From Kanazawa you will need to ride a Niho Bus or a Hokutestu Bus. Please visit the official websites for current information, timetables and fares.
  • from Takayama
    • Express Bus - around 2,470 yen and takes about 50 min.
      From Takayama you will need to ride a Niho Bus or a Hokutestu Bus. Please visit the official websites for current information, timetables and fares.

Find a train route and times by Jorudan

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Hotels & Lodging

View a list of Hotels and Lodging in & nearby Shirakawa-go

 

Area Map

Shirakawa-go Japan, Shirakawa-go Town Area Map

 

Attractions

View all attractions in & nearby Shirakawa-go

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