Travel from Nagoya to Shirakawa Go Village in Gifu Prefecture, Japan
Shirakawa is a village located in Ono District, Gifu Prefecture, Japan. It is best known for being the site of Shirakawa-go a small, traditional village showcasing a building style known as gasshō-zukuri. Together with Gokayama in Nanto, Toyama, it is one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
The Shirakawa-go and neighboring Gokayama regions line the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that span from Gifu to Toyama Prefectures. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, they are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old.
Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style developed over many generations and is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms.
Ogimachi, Shirakawa-go’s largest village and main attraction, makes a good day trip from Takayama, or a stop on the bus journey between Takayama and Kanazawa. The best way to experience the town.
Gokayama is a little more difficult to access and requires a change of buses in Ogimachi. Less developed and less crowded than Shirakawa-go, its villages are smaller, more intimate and with less intrusion from modern buildings. Gokayama’s nicest villages are Suganuma and Ainokura.
Shirakawa is a mountain village located in far northern Gifu Prefecture, bordering Ishikawa Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture on the Ryohaku Mountains. Mount Hakusan is the highest elevation at 2,172 metres (7,126 ft). The village’s area is 95.7% mountainous forests, and its steep places are characteristic. In between the mountains flows the Shō River, which continues to the north into Nanto, Toyama. Most of the population is in its river valley. Since the opening of Hida Tunnel, Shirakawa can be reached within 50 minutes from Takayama, Gifu compared to the earlier three hour drive, and only an hour to Nanto in Toyama.
Shirakawa Village has a humid continental climate. It features four distinct seasons with winter being its most recognised. Shirakawa is noted as one of the snowiest places in Japan. Yearly average snowfall amounts average out in excess of 10 meters (415.4″) with snowbanks developing well over 2 meters tall.
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01:35 Ogimachi Village
02:10 Gassho Zukuri
03:45 Dei Bridge Walking
07:22 Wada’s House
11:17 Walking Shiroyama View Point
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