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The Shirakawa-go (싽, Shirakawagō) and neighboring Gokayama (܉ӎR) regions line the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that span from Gifu to Toyama Prefectures. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, they are famous for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old.

Gassho-zukuri means "constructed like hands in prayer", as the farmhouses' steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style developed over many generations and is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms.

Ogimachi, Shirakawa-go's largest village and main attraction, makes a good day trip from Takayama, or a stop on the bus journey between Takayama and Kanazawa. The best way to experience the town, however, is to stay overnight at one of the farmhouses, many of which now serve as minshuku.

Gokayama is a little more difficult to access and requires a change of buses in Ogimachi. Less developed and less crowded than Shirakawa-go, its villages are smaller, more intimate and with less intrusion from modern buildings. Gokayama's nicest villages are Suganuma and Ainokura.

Top attractions in Shirakawago & Gokayama

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Hotels around Shirakawago & Gokayama

Top rated in Shirakawago & Gokayama
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    • Shiroyamakan
      Luxury
      Featuring free WiFi throughout the property, Shiroyamakan offers accommodation in Shirakawa, 1.4 km from Shirakawago. Free private parking is available on site. The entire property is non-smoking. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 47 km from the property.
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    • Onyado Yuinosho
      Luxury
      Located in Shirakawa in the Gifu region with Shirakawago nearby, Onyado Yuinosho provides accommodation with free private parking, as well as access to a sauna. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and a lift, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Guests can use the hot spring bath and the public bath, or enjoy mountain views. The ryokan will provide guests with air-conditioned units offering a desk, a kettle, a fridge, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At the ryokan, all units are soundproof. At the ryokan, every unit includes bed linen and towels. An Asian breakfast is available daily at the ryokan. There is a snack bar, bar and lounge. Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village is 45 km from Onyado Yuinosho, while Takayama Station is 46 km away. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 81 km from the accommodation.
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    • Guesthouse AntHut
      Budget-friendly
      Guest House Ant Hut is located in Shirakawa-go village, a 20-minute walk from the bus terminal Ogimachi at Shirakawa-go World Heritage Village. Free private parking is available on site. Guests can make use of the free shuttle service offered by the property or take a local bus to access the guest house. The Ant Hut has a shared kitchen furnished with essential cooking appliances. The lounge is fitted with a flat-screen TV and DVD player. The guest house features a bathroom, 2 toilets and a hairdryer. Each bed has a private luggage shelf, power outlet, reading light and a fan. Free WiFi access is available throughout the entire property. The property is situated in a quiet location within walking distance to a convenience store and 2 popular local restaurants. Guests can engage in various activities around the region such as skiing and hiking. Property staff are able to recommend things to do around the village. Complimentary seasonal drinks are offered to guests upon arrival and coffee is provided in the mornings.
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      8.6Booking.com
    • TOYOTA Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute
      Luxury
      Boasting hot-spring baths, a French restaurant and nature tours, the Eco-Institute is just a 10-minute drive from Shirakawa-Go traditional village, a UNESCO world heritage site. It offers spacious rooms with high ceilings and forest views. All rooms at TOYOTA Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute are air-conditioned, with an LCD TV, free wired internet and an en suite toilet. Some rooms have a private bathroom, and some rooms have Japanese-style futon bedding and a tatami (woven-straw) floor. The property is completely non-smoking. Gassho-zukuri Shuraku traditional houses are a 10-minute drive away. Shirayumi Ski Resort is a 20-minute drive away, and Shirakawa-go Onsen Hot Spring is a 15-minute drive. Free pick-up is available from Shirakawa-go Bus Stop, a 10-minute drive away. Both indoor and open-air hot-spring baths are on site, and guests can relax on the terrace or at the games room. A playground for children is provided. The institute showcases various environmentally-friendly initiatives. A set breakfast is served at the dining area. Dinner featuring locally grown ingredients can be enjoyed at La Riviere Blanc for an additional fee, but a reservation must be made at least 3 days in advance. Please note that the area does not have other dining options.
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    • CURIO Shirakawago
      Luxury
      CURIO Shirakawago is situated in Shirakawa, within 47 km of Takayama Station and a few steps of Shirakawago. The 5-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom and free WiFi. The property is non-smoking and is located 46 km from Hida Minzoku Mura Folk Village. At the hotel each room includes bed linen and towels. Fuji Folk Museum is 48 km from CURIO Shirakawago, while Yoshijima Heritage House is 48 km away. The nearest airport is Toyama Airport, 82 km from the accommodation.
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    • Shirakawago Guest House Kei
      Budget-friendly
      600 metres from Shirakawago, Shirakawago Guest House Kei is set in Shirakawa and offers rooms with free WiFi. All rooms feature a kitchen and a shared bathroom. The accommodation provides a shared kitchen and luggage storage space for guests. All guest rooms in the guest house are fitted with a coffee machine. The units will provide guests with a microwave. The nearest airport is Komatsu Airport, 46 km from the property.
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      8.4Booking.com