Shirakawa-go [白川郷]

View of Shirakawa-go from Shiroyama
View of Shirakawa-go from Shiroyama

Shirakawa-go in winter
Shirakawa-go in winter
Photo by Shirakawa Village, Gifu Pref.

Map of Gokayama and Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go is a small village in the mountain area at the northwest part of Gifu Prefecture.
It is located about 35 km west-northwest of Takayama city.

In Ogimachi (荻町) district, there are some traditional houses with a steep rafter roof.

So this district has been registered as a World Heritage Site in 1995 with Gokayama in Toyama Prefecture.
Gokayama is located about 15 km north of Shirakawa-go.

The house of this type has been built around this area since the 17th century.
In Japanese, it is called gassho-zukuri (合掌造り).

This area has heavy snowfall in winter.
So, a steep thatched roof has been set up on the house to remove snow easily.

And the form of the roof makes a wide space under it.
The people had used the space as a silkworm nursery since the 19th century.

A house in Shirakawa-go
A house in Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go in autumn
Shirakawa-go in autumn
Photo by Shirakawa Village, Gifu Pref.

The frame of gassho-zukuri house is built with logs and ropes without nails.
This method is important for holding up heavy roof with much snow in winter.

The house with thatched roof is unexpectedly warm in winter and cool in summer.

There is a fireplece ("irori" in Japanese) in the center of the living room, and a fire is lit in there in winter.

Of course, it warms the room.
The smokes rise up and fume the ceiling and the roof.
The smoked ceiling makes the house stronger.

Irori in Nagase House
Irori in Nagase House
Photo by Shirakawa Village, Gifu Pref.

The space under the roof
The space under the roof
Photo by Shirakawa Village, Gifu Pref.

Ogimachi district has more than 100 houses of gassho-zukuri.
These are dotted within about 1 km around Shogawa river.

In Shirakawa-go, village people live in most gassho-zukuri houses.
So, you must not enter the house without their permission.

Over a dozen houses run Minshuku (inn).
It is a good idea to stay such Minshuku of gassho-zukuri.

A street in Shirakawa-go
A street in Shirakawa-go

A minshuku in Shirakawa-go
A minshuku in Shirakawa-go
Photo by Shirakawa Village, Gifu Pref.

A few houses are opened to the publuc as a museum.

Wada House is the largest house in Shirakawa-go, and was built in the middle of the 19th century.
Of course, Wada family is living in the house, but we can tour the inside of the house.

Tôyama House was built in the 1820s, and is opened to the visitors as a musuem.

There is Shiroyama observatory on a hill to the north of the district.
We can overlook the view of the village.

By the way, the bus terminal and parking lot is on the opposite side of Shogawa river.
From there, you cross a suspension bridge, then enter the district.
Passing through the district on a general car is prohibited.

Shirakawa-go Tourist Information

How to get here

By express bus, 50 to 60 minutes from Takayama, 1 hour and 15 minutes from Kanazawa, 2 hours and 40 minutes from Nagoya.

From Takaoka through Gokayama, about 2.5 hours.
From Gokayama (Suganuma district), about 30 minutes.

Hotels around Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Hotels around Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Other Tourist Attractions in Gifu Prefecture

Gifu city Seki Traditional Sword Smith Museum Usuzumi-zakura Yoro Falls Gujo-Hachima town Gero Onsen Takayama Oku-Hida Onsen village Hida-Furukawa town Tsumago & Magome post stations

Return to Gifu Prefecture Return to Tokai Region

Other prefectures in Tokai Region