A beginner’s guide to Shirakawago

Trinh LeTrinh Le1 year ago
A beginner’s guide to Shirakawago

The village Shirakawago is famed for its gassho-zukuri farmhouses with steeply-sloped thatched roof, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. While many people choose to visit it in winter for the light-up event, the village looks just as beautiful during autumn. When the leaves on the surrounding mountains turn yellow and orange, you can’t help but feel a sense of calmness and serenity.

Shirakawago is always crowded during daytime, but you can either avoid the main street and explore the smaller alleys between the buildings, or book an overnight accommodation to spend more time there. When I visited Shirakawago last October, I stayed at Shirakawago Inn – about 2km from the village.


Among the tourist attractions, I highly recommend the Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck. It’s about 20-minute uphill walk from the bus terminal, but the view is breathtaking and unobstructed.

Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck

There’s also the “Shirakawago Three Houses” (I don’t know exact the Japanese name, but you can just google it using that keyword), but it’s a bit further from the main village.

You can visit inside some of the houses, and there’s also an outdoor museum near the suspension bridge. But what I recommend is just get a map, walk around and take it all in. There’s a lot of photo opportunities around this beautiful village. Remember to try their succulent Hida beef as well!

Shirakawago Three Houses

You can either get to Shirakawago from Kanazawa or Takayama by bus, which takes around 1 hour and a half depending on the service. Personally I prefer Kanazawa as their seafood bowls at Omicho Market are to die for, plus they have the Kanazawa Castle and Kenrokuen Garden. Either way, you’d better book your bus ticket beforehand on Japan Bus Online, especially during the peak season.

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