See the history, wisdom and culture of Shirakawa Village
In Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture, there is a village where gassho-zukuri style houses (a Japanese architectural style with a distinct steep roof), which are registered as a World Heritage Site, gather. The history, tradition of towns, buildings, and natural scenery that you can see in Japanese history textbooks are preserved.
In Shirakawa-go, where 300-year-old thatched gassho-zukuri style houses remain, you can enjoy seasonal views such as cherry blossoms, fresh greenery, autumn leaves, and winter scenery. It is a popular spot for photographers. In recent years, many foreign tourists have been fascinated by Japan’s quiet rural scenery, as if they had slipped back in time.
At outdoor museums, local museums and exhibition halls, you can see the history, wisdom and culture of Shirakawa Village. Let’s get in touch with life at that time through straw work and soba making experience, and feel the connection with people around the hearth.
Shirakawa-go, located in the mountainous area in the northern part of Gifu Prefecture, is a heavy snowfall area where winter is cold and a lot of snow falls. Surrounded by abundant nature, it shows a beautiful appearance no matter which season you visit, but especially in winter, when the area is completely covered with snow, the beauty of Shirakawago stands out.
Lighting is performed for a limited time from January to February every year. You can see a fantastic sight where houses of gassho-zukuri style appear dimly in the falling snow.
The main sightseeing areas of Shirakawa-go can be divided into gassho-zukuri style settlements, which have been selected as World Heritage Sites, and areas centered on Hirase Onsen in the southern part of Shirakawa Village. Among them, the center of sightseeing is the Ogimachi district, where you can see gassho-zukuri style houses and the sightseeing spots are concentrated. In the Ogimachi district, there is a house of the “Wada family”, which is also designated as a national important cultural property, and a “open-air museum Gassho-zukuri private garden” where you can see how you live on Shirakawa-go. There is also a tourist information center and a bus terminal.
Bus access is convenient for access to Shirakawa-go. There are bus routes to Shirakawa-go from nearby major train stations.
Travel time is about 50 minutes from Japan Railway Takayama Station, about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Japan Railway Kanazawa Station, and about 3 hours from Nagoya Station.
Charms and Highlights of Shirakawa-Go
Most of the houses in this Shirakawa-Go are thatched roof’s Gassho-zukuri Style
In Shifakawa-Go (Shirakawa Village) in Gifu prefecture, there is a settlement of “Gassho-zukuri Style” (a Japanese architectural style with a distinct steep roof) registered also as a World Heritage Site, a town that can feel the history and tradition , Architecture, natural scenery is left.
This is a spot that was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site since December 1995, especially the summer Gassho-zukuri settlement has beautiful scenery filled with greenery and you can enjoy a peaceful landscape surrounded by the greens of the mountains. Thatched roof is a distinctive making used in Japanese houses since ancient times, and most of the houses in this Shirakawa-Go are thatched roof’s Gassho-zukuri Style. In this area surrounded by mountains, agriculture such as rice cultivation and wheat cultivation is carried out. It is one of the few spots where you can enjoy land-based foodstuffs such as wild vegetables.
This place is perfect for visitors from all over the world as well as from Japan to visit and feel like Japan. Cosmos and cherry blossoms are seen blooming depending on the season, so you can visit the scenery throughout the year. However, since local people live a normal life in this village, let’s not have annoyance or rude when sightseeing.
A refreshing wind blows around, sunbeams shining through branches of trees are beautiful, you will surely feel rich. On the other hand, at night, the light leaking from the house is warm and very fantastic. Looking out from the outside on summer night may have good taste.
You can also enjoy photographing from a place overlooking the entire village. From the Shiroyama Observatory, which is a classic spot for photography, you can overlook the settlement.
Why do not you go for a walk while listening to the buzz of evening cicada that sounds at dusk?
Surrounded beautiful scenery in mountains of Gifu
The “Shirakawa-Go” village is the name of the area of Shogawa River basin in Gifu. This beautiful scenery in mountains of Gifu reminds us a Japanese former living. The Ogicho district of the Shirakawa-Go is known at a village of the Gassho-zukuri (a Japanese architectural style with a distinct steep roof). The group of buildings in the villages of Shirakawa-Go and Gokayama are especially well known and are registered as a World Heritage site (Cultural Heritage) by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
Inaccessible unexplored region until recently
The Shirakawa-Go is in the northernmost steep mountains of Gifu. This place surrounded by mountains is the special snowy area in Japan, much snow is piled up in winter. Due to this geographical factor and the climate, it was the place of inaccessible unexplored region until recently. The culture and customs from old days, including the Gassho-zukuri of thatched house, did not go out of vogue, and was handed down to posterity.
Quiet rural views spread
Most villages of the Shirakawa-Go are made to crowd in the small built‐up area. The Ogi-cho of the Gassho village registered with a world heritage is such a village. Ogi-cho is lined with more than 100 architecture of the Gassho-zukuri, the beautiful farm village scenery of quiet rural views spread around there.
The Gassho-zukuri of “triplets” standing still in a quiet rural scenery. The rice field of this side is affectionate very much like rice growing thick, and snow is piled up by season. Especially, “Sakasa Gassho” (reverse Gassho) appearing in the surface of the water of the rice field before the rice-transplanting season is something worth seeing.
The village inheriting original scenery of Japan
The Shirakawa-Go is dotted with private house, guest house of Gassho-zukuri including the restaurant opening to the public. Let’s taste a relaxed time while walking the village inheriting original scenery of Japan in now.
Information(Access, Price/Charge, Tel, Address, Official site, etc.)
|Adresse:||Ogimachi 2495-3 Onogun Shirakawamura, Gifu 501-5627 Japan|
|Access:||JR Takayama-honsen Line “Takayama-eki Station” (50 minutes by Expressway shuttle bus)|
|Tel:||(+81) 5769-6-1311 (Shirakawa village office)|
|Price / Charge:||Free|