Shirakawa-gō (白川郷) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site known for the highest number of gasshō-zukuri style houses located in one area. “Gassho”, meaning “hands in prayer,” refers to the unique steep thatched roofing feature that is made to withstand heavy snowfall. Located in Gifu Prefecture in the heartland of Japan, it’s central location means easy access from anywhere in the nation. Shirakawa-go Tourist Center Ogi-machi, Shirakawamura, Ono-gun, Gifu Contact: +81-5789-6-1013 Website: www.shirakawa-go.org Central Japan Blog Series • MY WAX TEMPURA: Food Sample Workshop in Gujo City! • TONAMI TULIP GALLERY: The World’s Only Tulip Garden Where It Blooms All Year Round! • SHIRAKAWA-GO: The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō! How to Get There Via Shinkansen 1 hr 15 min from JR Kanazawa Sta. by Hokuriku Railroad Bus or Nohi Bus to Shirakawa-go Bus Stop 1 hr 55 min by World Heritage Bus from JR Takaoka Sta. The areas are recognized by UNESCO as examples of a traditional way of life that has perfectly adapted to its environment and social function. Several dozen well-preserved folk houses with roofs thatched in the gassho style stand in the quiet mountain village community, some of which are more than 250 years old. Many of these farmhouses are converted into restaurants, museums, or minshuku, where you can stay overnight. Some are still inhabited, such as the Wada house. Did you know it takes around 200 people to finish the re-roofing of the thatched roof? “Yui” is a cooperation system seen in roof thatching work in which neighborhoods pitch in to help each other. Their cooperative system reminds me of how they also fixed the cogon roofs of the traditional houses in Batanes. Wada House Built in the mid-to-late Edo Period, this well-preserved house is the largest remaining Gassho-style house in Shirakawa-go. The Wada family was one of the wealthiest families and were village leaders of Ogimachi still bearing documents and license that show the house was home to an official who dealt with raw silk. A part of the house still houses the family, but the rest is now open to the public as a museum. Admission: 300 yen Shiroyama Tenshukaku Tenbodai (Observatory) If you want the best view of the whole Shirakawa-gō area, visit the Shiroyama Tenshukaku Tenbodai (Observatory). It offers a picturesque view of the whole of Ogimachi from this privately owned observation point. It can be accessed via a 20-minute walk or shuttle bus that stops near the Wada house. Tip: Parking and Entrance are free Contact: 05769-6-1728 Overall, a trip to this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one not to miss! The best time to visit is during winter time when the heavy snowfall covers the village and a magical view appears! Shirakawa-go Tourist Center Ogi-machi, Shirakawamura, Ono-gun, Gifu Contact: +81-5789-6-1013 Website: www.shirakawa-go.org Central Japan Blog Series • MY WAX TEMPURA: Food Sample Workshop in Gujo City! • TONAMI TULIP GALLERY: The World’s Only Tulip Garden Where It Blooms All Year Round! • SHIRAKAWA-GO: The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō! Live an Awesome Life,
ABI of Team Our Awesome Planet Disclosure: Our trip was courtesy of Central Japan International Airport. I wrote this article with my biases, opinions, and insights.