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Shirakawa-go historic village

Shirakawa-go historic villageMap of Gokayama and Shirakawa-goShirakawa-go is a mountain area at the northwest part of Gifu Prefecture, and is located about 35 km west-northwest of Takayama city.
In this area, Ogimachi districts have some traditional houses with a steep rafter roof, so they 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 "gasshou-zukuri".
This area have 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 attic under it, then they had used the space as a silkworm nursery since the 19th century.

The frame of gasshou-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) at the center of the living room, and a fire is lit in there in winter.
Of course, it warms the room. And the smokes rise up, then they fume the ceiling and the roof. It makes the house stronger.

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

Ogimachi district has more than 100 houses of gasshou-zukuri. They are dotted around Sho River within about 1 km.

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.

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

To the north of the district, there is an observatory, and we can overlook the view of the village.

Shirakawa-Village : Shirakawa Village official website
Ogimachi sightseeing map (pdf) : Download file in Shirakawa-go Tourist Association official website (in Japanese)

How to get to here

By route bus

  • From Takayama or Kanazawa, the express bus connecting both cities stops here.
    About 50-60 minutes from Takayama, and 1 hour and 15 minutes from Kanazawa. (A few buses have all reserved seats.)
  • From Nagoya, an express bus is operated once a day from April to November. (All reserved seats) About 2 hours and 50 minutes.
  • From Takaoka through Gokayama, about 2 hours and 32 minutes. From Gokayama (Suganuma), about 31 minutes.

By car

Run on Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway, and exit at Shirakawa-go exit. Then about 3 km.

Shirakawa-go (Ogimachi area)
A house of gasshou-zukuri
Wada House Icicles in winter
Myozenji temple of gasshou-zukuri
Photo by Railstation.net
Shirakawa-go in winter
Photo by Nihon-rettou okinijiman
Museum of former Tooyama House
Photo by Nihon-rettou okinijiman
Irori in Living room
Photo by Nihon-rettou okinijiman
Displaying livingwares in Tooyama House
Photo by Nihon-rettou okinijiman
Room under the roof in Tooyama House
Photo by Nihon-rettou okinijiman

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