World Cultural Heritage site in Japan : Shirakawago



What is Shirakawago?

Shirakawago or Shirakawa village is traditional Gassho-style houses village in the north-western part of Gifu prefecture. The name “Shirakawa-go” firstly mentioned at around 1176 and mentioned in a lot of Japanese literature ever since. The village is surrounded by mountains and forest, giving it the reputation of ‘isolated island’. Shirakawago entitled UNESCO World Heritage in 1995. The houses there dated back to more than 250 years ago.

What to expect?

The village is famous for two things: the Gassho-style houses and its beautiful nature. Gassho-style house is a hand-built wooden house which can be characterized by its gabled roofs known as “sasu” structure. The shape of the roof resembles a propped-up books cover (or some says upside-down praying hands) which accommodate the natural conditions in Shirakawa-go. It also provides cooler summers and warmer winters. In Edo-period and early Showa period this village is a silk-industry area, and the people use the high attics as a working space.

Some house is a museum you can enter with a certain fee and you could have a farm stay in some of the houses. The village looks pretty in any season, but it especially famous for its autumn foliage and snowy winter. In winter they have a special winter illumination which attracts tourist all over the world. Our favorite spot is the Shiroyama viewpoint where you can take a bird view of the village.

How to get there?

There are several options to go to the village, including bus from Kanazawa or Johana. For the bus, you need to book it beforehand from their online website here. It cost 1,600 JPY for one way from Kanazawa. For staying in the village you can pick the accommodations on their accommodation page here. You might need book months before if you want to stay during the winter illumination event.

Location: 〒501-5600 岐阜県大野郡白川村大字荻町

Access: 1,5 bus trip from Kanazawa station

Official webpage:

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