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Published on 06.07.2016
Imagine a hushed village at the base of a snow-clad mountain covered by fog. When you look around, you can see the traditional Japanese houses with thatched roofs and green paddy fields. In addition, you can see the euphoric landscape made perfect by a pristine river, clandestinely flowing through the village.
Welcome to the heavenly land where a village perfectly soaks up the bliss of nature! Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995, Shirakawa-go is a mountainous village located at the base of Mount Haku-san in the north-western region of Gifu Prefecture. The village is most famous for its more than a hundred Gassho-zukuri houses that have like huge thatched roofs shaped like clutched praying hand.
The Wada House, a private house where partial public access for viewing is allowed, is the oldest and largest Gassho-zukuri house. The old-age tools are on display at the Wada House. To experience the village life and cherish its beauty, accommodation at multiple Gassho-zukuri houses can be arranged. It is always wise to book such accommodations in advance. To enjoy the breath-taking panoramic view of the village, the Shiroyama Viewpoint is the best location.
Gassho-zukuri Minka-en museum showcases an outdoor exhibition of 27 relocated Gassho-zukuri houses with traditional architectural treasures like a coal house, a worship-place and a horse paddock that closely resembles the old scenery. Its other attractions include live performances based on traditional industrial arts such as dyeing and weaving; 'Soba Dojo' where guests can learn preparing Japanese soba noodles, and master hand craft skills.
Saying of the cultural celebrations, the Doburoku Festival which is celebrated every autumn stands out. The mountain God is worshipped by the locals during this festival. Through private production of alcoholic beverage is banned throughout Japan, the locals in Shirakawa are allowed to brew doburoku for the sake of this festival. Doburuku looks like white chunkyrice porridge and tastes lusciously sweet. Last but not the lest, one can visit the Doburoku Matsuri Hallis to explore a lion dance known as "Shishi-mai". It is located at Shirakawa Hachiman Shrine.
How to get there?
Wada house can be reached by Nohi Bus and Hokuriku Railway Bus. These buses depart from JR Takayama Station located on the Takayama Line (an hour far) or from JR Kanazawa Station on the Hokuriku Main Line (about 75 minutes far).
Contact: Shirakawa-go Tourist Association, Phone: 05769-6-1013
Business Hours of Wada House: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Entrance Fee of Wada House: Adults: 300 yen, Children: 150 yen