Shirakawago Gassho-zukuri village, which has beautiful retro landscape like the scenery of Japan back in the day, is highly evaluated. It was selected as an important traditional building preservation district in 1976, and in 1995, Shirakawa-go together with Gokayama (In Toyama Prefecture) was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (Cultural Heritage).
In recent years, its popularity has increased as it has been registered as a World Heritage Site, and due to the development of the transportation network, many tourists from Japan and all around the world are come to visit every year. Apart from the retro-traditional scenery of Japan back in the good old days, Shirakawago also a place where you can deeply feel the ural culture way of life.
LOCATION Location of Shirakawa-go
It is located in Hida region. The village is a steep area with mountain folds, Shogawa river flows like weaving between the steep slopes and village is formed in its basin. Also, it is one of Japan's heavy snowfall areas. Shirakawa-go has been geographically described as an “isolated island”, and also referred to as an “unexplored region”, not just because of the surrounding mountainous terrain, but also due to the fact that links with the surrounding areas could become blocked by snowfall
Shirakawa Village is a rural mountain village surrounded by mountains. It is cool and comfortable weahter in summer, but in winter it is covered with snow.
In February, the snow accumulates can reach to 170 cm (6ft) or more (The highest recorded snowfall in the area was 4.5 m or 15f).
The people of Shirakawa-go's have lived in this climate
The three principles of “Do not sell”, “Do not rent”, and “Do not destroy” were agreed upon with the consensus of all residents in Ogimachi village (World Heritage Site) and not allowed to change or renovate the exterior of the house. It was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site (cultural heritage) but not only the buildings and landscapes that received high praise, it is also the activities of mutual assistance rooted among the residents as well.
In Shirakawa-go, we value the heart of Yui.
In Japanese Yui” means mutual assistance or share labor. Life in Shirakawa-go where we live has always been based on everyone's cooperation and cooperation of individual houses. In winter the village was closed or block by snow and heavy snowfall, so it was a harsh natural condition that we could not live unless people and the houses support each other. Therefore, it is necessary to help each other in various living life issue and events throughout the year, and therefore the mutual assistance relationship which unique to Shirakawago has been built. Even today, the spirit of the "Yui" has been firmly handed down to new generation in Shirakawago. For example, the re-roofings of Gassho house is done by cooperation and help of everyone in the village. This collaborative work is also a valuable opportunity to convey the wisdom of predecessor to the next generation, and to remind the new generation to re-recognize "the importance of connection and bond between people" which is hard to find elsewhere in this modern life.
SEASON The four seasons of Shirakawa-go
It is around March when the temperature rises and the snow melt The cherry blossoms start to bloom from mid April to early May and the weather are slowly warm up.
Shirakawa-go surrounded by the views of fresh green sprouts and lush mountains. The greenery scenery and mountains will make you feel refreshing unlike in the city.
The whole mountains turned to colorful autumn leaves. You can see the beautiful scenery where the whole village is colored. The best time to see the autumn leaves is from late October to mid November.
The whole village covered with snow but it make Shirakawago look even more fantastic and beautiful with white scenery. During this time of deep snow, Shirakawa-go's winter features light-up events will be held (See Announcements&Events for more information)
SPOT 1 Gassho-zukuri village Walk around the World Heritage site
Gassho-zukuri" is a unique Japanese architectural style built and generally defined as house that has a thatched gable roof, with a truss-like structure (Sasu structure in Japanese) and a roof slope steep enough to provide adequate space for active use inside the roof volume. Gassho in Japanese literally means “praying hands”, suggesting the form of hands raised in prayer to the Buddha.
Because of the similarity of shape, this word has been used for a long time to describe the triangular form of two angled members joined together at the top.
The structure is suitable for the natural and environment conditions of Shirakawa-go and the heavy snow fall
SPOT 2 Hot spring (Onsen) Relax in Onsen (hot spring)
Stop by Onsen around Shirakawa-go where you can enjoy bathing
Shirakawago no Yu
Good location, about 1 minute walk from Shirakawa-go bus terminal. It is famous for those who want to relax and warm their body after sightseeing in Shirakawa-go.
Shiramizu Onsen in Hirase area
Indoor and outdoor natural Onsen which is 15 minutes by car from Shirakawa-go. A hot water that flowing directly from the source
Ōshirakawa open-air bath
A natural open-air bath with 360° panorama view located in the Hakusan National Park, Ōshirakawa. Which is about 13km from Hirase Onsen Village by route 451.
SPOT 3 Beautiful Japan landscape Experience the nature of Hakusan mount
Hakusan National Park, one of the most beautiful nature in Japan
Hakusan, one of Japan's three sacred mountains along with Mt. Fuji and Mt.Tateyama.
You can experience various activities and programs that make you feel close to nature.
SPOT 4 Excellent taste of Shirakawago Search for specialty products
Fresh local ingredients and nice items
There are many products that can only be purchased here.
Please take some local taste home with you.