Sign in for a personalized experience.
Japan Guide Homepage
Travel
Living
Forum
Restaurants
Shopping
Jobs
Friends
News
-
Essentials
-
Sightseeing
-
Accommodation
-
Transportation
-
Restaurants
-
Shopping
-
Budget Travel
-
Questions

Home - Travel - Sightseeing Guide - Chubu - Shirakawa-go and Gokayama
Ainokura Village 
# 2   of 5 most visited sights
in Shirakawa-go

jump to:   access  -  hotels  -  ratings  -  tours  -  links

Set far back in the valley, Ainokura is the most remote village in the Gokayama region. It is also the largest of the villages with nearly 20 gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Many of them remain private residences, although a few have been converted into restaurants, museums, and minshuku.

Ainokura, along with Suganuma and Ogimachi, was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. As it is less developed and harder to get to than Ogimachi, Ainokura is quieter and sees less tourist traffic, and offers similar attractions including the highly recommend overnight at a farmhouse.

Sasara and other Gokayama instruments
Making washi paper

Being so remote, Ainokura, along with the rest of Gokayama, has been able to maintain a lot of its traditional culture. This can be seen in its folk dances and music, which use a number of traditional instruments unique to the area. For example, the sasara, an instrument made of over a hundred wooden clappers strung together, is symbolic of the region and is a popular souvenir.

Gokayama, especially the towns around Ainokura, is well known for its washi paper. Legend has it the technique was brought here from Kyoto at the end of the Heian Period when survivors of the Taira Clan escaped to this region after their defeat by the Minamoto Clan. There are several stores in the area where you can observe local artisans making washi paper as well as try your hand at making some yourself.

Folk Museum Number 1
Hours: daily 8:30 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 200 yen (350 yen for both museums)
One of two houses that make up the Ainokura Folk Museum, this gassho-zukuri farmhouse has been converted into a small museum displaying daily life in the Gokayama region during the Edo Period.
Folk Museum Number 2
Hours: daily 8:30 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 200 yen (350 yen for both museums)
This is the second of two buildings that make up the Ainokura Folk Museum. Also a former farmhouse, it has displays on washi paper making and other industries of the region.
Viewpoint
The viewpoint above Ainokura is a five to ten minute walk up the mountain. The trail begins behind the information building at the parking lot, goes through a few fields and connects with a small road. If you continue up the hill on the road you will be rewarded with nice aerial views of the village.

Attractions around Ainokura

Gokayama Washi
The Gokayama region has been well known for its washi paper since the art was brought here by Taira Clan refugees from Kyoto. At this store/factory you can watch how washi paper is made, or try your hand at making some yourself (advance notice required).
Uta no Yakata
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Closed: December through March
Admission: 200 yen
Uta no Yakata is a museum dedicated to the unique music of the Gokayama region. Here you can watch videos of the traditional music and dance, and learn to play some of the instruments such as the sasara.
Murakami-ke House
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (December to March 9:00 to 16:00)
Closed: Wednesdays (except for national holidays)
Admission: 300 yen
This farmhouse turned museum is known for its owner who gives tours of the house which end with performances of local folk songs accompanied by regional instruments.

Any Questions? Ask them in our question forum.

How to get there
By bus

Ainokura is a stop along the bus route between Ogimachi in Shirakawa-go and Takaoka Station on the JR Hokuriku Line. The bus ride from Ogimachi to Ainokura takes 45 minutes and costs 700 or 1300 yen depending on the bus. Get off at "Ainokura-guchi", from where the village can be reached in a 5 minute walk. There are 8-9 buses per day (see timetable and fare details).

By car

From Ogimachi, Ainokura can be reached in about 45 minutes along National Route 156. You can cut travel time by a few minutes by taking the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway between Shirakawago and Gokayama IC (570 yen expressway tolls). From Gokayama IC, Ainokura is reached in about 15 minutes.

How to get to and around Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Advertisement

Hotels and Ryokan
Search Hotels
Recommended Hotels around shirakawa - with lowest rates by selected hotel reservation websites
Koemon
Atmospheric gassho-zukuri houses to stay overnight.
Reserve through
Japanese Guest Houses
Magoemon
One of the largest and most beautiful gassho-zukuri houses to stay overnight.
Reserve through
Japanese Guest Houses
Shirakawago no yu
Not located in a gassho-zukuri house, this accommodation offers onsen baths.
Reserve through
Japanese Guest Houses

Tours and Packages
Takayama and Shirakawa-go Tours
Various tours and travel packages for Takayama and surroundings.

User Ratings
Ratings for Ainokura Village:
japan-guide.com Rating:
  outstanding  
User Rating (by 65 users):
88/100
  recommended

Best rated sights nationwide (out of 787):
87.  Hakone Hot Springs (Hakone)   88/100
88.  Matsumoto Castle (Matsumoto)   88/100
89.  Great Buddha (Kamakura)   88/100
90.  Taiyuinbyo (Nikko)   88/100
91.  Asahidake Onsen (Daisetsuzan)   88/100
92.  Ainokura Village (Shirakawa-go)   88/100
93.  Furano Flower Fields (Furano)   88/100
94.  Isuien Garden (Nara)   88/100
95.  Walking Trails (Miyajima)   88/100
96.  Tokyo Disneyland (Tokyo)   88/100
Most visited sights nationwide (out of 913):
404.  Kanzeonji Temple (Dazaifu)   137
405.  Museum of History (Miyajima)   137
406.  Ohashi House (Kurashiki)   136
407.  Fuji Q Highland (Fuji Five Lakes)   136
408.  Toyako Onsen (Lake Toya)   135
409.  Ainokura Village (Shirakawa-go)   135
410.  Tanabata Matsuri (Sendai)   135
411.  Cheese Factory (Furano)   134
412.  Nakasendo Hiking (Kiso Valley)   133
413.  Genkyuen Garden (Hikone)   133

User Feedback
We strive to keep japan-guide.com up-to-date and accurate, and are always looking for ways to improve the user experience. If you have any updates, suggestions, corrections or opinions, please let us know:

Japanese Links
Nanto City Tourist Guide
Official website.
Murakami-ke
Official website.

Online Reservations
Hotel
 
Car
 
Flight
 
Bus

(check-in)

Related Pages

Most Recent Autumn Color Report
November 27
Tokyo
more reports...

News and Reports
January 27, 2013
Winter Visit to Shirakawago
by schauwecker
January 1, 2013
shirakawago at winter
by suncraft

Related Questions
Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass
 2 reactions, last updated 3 days ago
Get down for 2 hours at Shirakawa
 3 reactions, last updated 8 days ago
Kanazawa to shirakawa go light up...
 0 reactions, last updated 10 days ago
Is Shirakawago Light-up overrated?
 0 reactions, last updated 11 days ago
Shirakawago light-up
 2 reactions, last updated 12 days ago
Kyoto to Shirakawago to Kyoto...
 0 reactions, last updated 15 days ago
Transport back to Takayama from...
 2 reactions, last updated 19 days ago
Ainokura or Ogimachi?
 2 reactions, last updated 21 days ago
Shirakawago and Takaoka
 2 reactions, last updated 23 days ago
Shirakawago light-up
 10 reactions, last updated 23 days ago
Bus serivce during Shirakawago light up
 1 reaction, last updated 25 days ago
A night in Shirakawa-go
 1 reaction, last updated 29 days ago
Shirakawa
 0 reactions, last updated 32 days ago
Kaetsuno Bus & Gokayama-Shirakawago
 0 reactions, last updated 45 days ago
Shirakawa-go light up event 2015
 0 reactions, last updated 46 days ago
Autumn - Shirakawago or Ainokura?
 3 reactions, last updated 47 days ago
Travel to Ainokura from Matsumoto
 2 reactions, last updated 53 days ago
Best way to shirawakago?
 2 reactions, last updated 60 days ago
Any locker at Shirakawa Information...
 3 reactions, last updated 62 days ago
8 day trip is it worth going to...
 2 reactions, last updated 80 days ago

Travel
Living
Japan A-Z
Community
Sightseeing
Accommodation
Transportation
Shopping
Essentials
Regions
Prefectures
Cities
Working
Studying
Living Cost
Apartments
Arts and Crafts
Entertainment
History
Religion
Etiquette
Food
Language
Tradition
Question Forum
Classifieds
Trip Reports
Member Area
Sightseeing Guide
Hokkaido
Sapporo
Otaru
Hakodate
Noboribetsu
Niseko
Furano
Daisetsuzan
Shiretoko
more...
Tohoku
Sendai
Matsushima
Hiraizumi
Hachimantai
Hirosaki
Lake Towada
Dewa Sanzan
Aizu
more...
Kanto
Tokyo
Yokohama
Kamakura
Hakone
Nikko
Kawagoe
Kusatsu
Narita
more...
Chubu
Nagoya
Mount Fuji
Izu Peninsula
Matsumoto
Kiso Valley
Takayama
Shirakawa-go
Kanazawa
more...
Kansai
Kyoto
Osaka
Nara
Kobe
Himeji
Mount Koya
Kumano
Ise Shima
more...
Chugoku
Hiroshima
Miyajima
Okayama
Kurashiki
Tottori
Matsue
Iwakuni
Hagi
more...
Shikoku
Takamatsu
Kotohira
Naoshima
Matsuyama
Kochi
Tokushima
Naruto
Iya Valley
more...
Kyushu
Fukuoka
Nagasaki
Kumamoto
Mount Aso
Beppu
Kagoshima
Kirishima
Yakushima
more...
Okinawa
Honto
Kume
Miyako
Yaeyama
Copyright © 1996-2014 japan-guide.com All rights reserved - Last Page Update: May 1, 2013
home - site map - privacy policy - terms of use - contact - employment - Lɂ‚ - advertising