Shirakawago is a stunning village surrounded by the Japanese Alps. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the few places that have steep thatched roof houses, Gassho-zukuri (prayer hands construction). Look inside one of the Gassho houses, the Wada House. Discover the local way of life. Gardens, paddy fields and the lotus pond add to the magical atmosphere of Shirakawago. It takes about three hours to walk and look around this picturesque village.

Getting There

Takayama–Shirakawago Nohi Bus Single/Round Trip ¥2470/¥4420.
Purchase bus tickets from Takayama Hida Bus Centre, next to Takayama station.
Bus leaves from outside the Bus Centre. 50 min bus journey.

Getting Around

Shirakawago is a small village so everything is in walking distance.

Wada House

Gassho-zukuri Houses

Wada House ¥300. 9am–5pm daily.

The stunning thatched houses of Shirakawago are wonderful examples of unique ancient Japanese architectural design. The largest of the 114 Gassho-zukuri houses in the village is the Wada House. It is a beautifully handmade wooden house in the centre of the village. The mayor or person of significant importance in the community would reside here. Step inside the well preserved, solid, three-storey building with open plan living. The welcoming grand hall has a hearth which warms the whole house. On the ground floor are the main living and sleeping quarters. Above are the mezzanine and spacious wooden beamed attic that overlooks the scenic village.

Ogimachi-Jyoshi Observation Platform

Ogimachi-Jyoshi (Observation Platform)

To get a real sense of Shirakawago’s scale and beauty, climb up the steep road to the Observation Platform. Pass the rice paddy fields and wooden huts. At the top, get your breath back and look out to the most beautiful panoramic view. It seems like the mountains are hugging the village.