Hida Takayama

Hida Takayama

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are two picturesque regions located in central Japan known for their unique and well-preserved traditional farmhouses, making them some of the most sought-after destinations for travelers interested in experiencing rural Japanese culture and architecture. Here’s an overview of their attractions and how to reach these beautiful areas.


  1. Gassho-zukuri Farmhouses: The most iconic feature of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are their Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, renowned for their steep thatched roofs that resemble hands folded in prayer. These houses are excellent examples of traditional Japanese architecture and offer a glimpse into Japan’s rural past.
  2. UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Both Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites due to their cultural significance and the preservation of their historical villages and architecture.
  3. Scenic Beauty: The regions are known for their stunning natural beauty. In spring, you can enjoy cherry blossoms, while autumn brings vibrant foliage. Winter is famous for heavy snowfall, creating a picturesque winter wonderland that attracts visitors for its unique charm.
  4. Rural Experiences: Visitors can immerse themselves in rural life by participating in activities like rice planting, traditional handicraft workshops, and staying in Gassho-zukuri guesthouses, offering an authentic experience of the local culture.
  5. Shirakawa-go Ogimachi Village: Ogimachi is the largest village in Shirakawa-go and boasts the highest concentration of Gassho-zukuri farmhouses. The village also has a museum dedicated to local history and culture.
  6. Gokayama Ainokura Village: In Gokayama, Ainokura Village stands out for its charming thatched-roof houses and a museum showcasing the area’s heritage.

How to Reach:

1. By Train: The nearest major city to Shirakawa-go and Gokayama is Kanazawa. From Kanazawa, you can take a train to Toyama. From Toyama, you can either take a train to Takayama and then a bus to Shirakawa-go or a bus directly from Toyama to Shirakawa-go.

2. By Bus: There are direct buses from major cities like Kanazawa, Takayama, and Nagoya to both Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. These buses offer a convenient option for tourists and often have multilingual information.

3. By Car: Renting a car is an excellent option if you prefer flexibility. Both Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are accessible by car, and the scenic drives through the Japanese countryside are quite enjoyable.

4. Tour Packages: Many tour operators offer day trips or multi-day packages to Shirakawa-go and Gokayama from cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. These packages include transportation and guided tours.

Keep in mind that the accessibility and transportation options may vary depending on the season, so it’s essential to check the latest information and make reservations in advance, especially during peak travel times like cherry blossom season or winter for the snowscape experience. Regardless of when you visit, Shirakawa-go and Gokayama promise a unique and culturally enriching experience in the heart of rural Japan.

“Discover the Charm of Shirakawa-go Ogimachi: UNESCO Heritage Village”