Suganuma (À), one of the main attractions of Gokayama, is made up of two areas, Suganuma Village and the Gokayama Gassho no Sato. Pleasant and easy to explore on foot, the two areas are connected to each other by a tunnel, which also connects to the parking lot on the hill overlooking the village via an elevator.
Suganuma Village and nine of its gassho-zukuri farmhouses, were designated a UNESCO world heritage site along with Ainokura and Ogimachi in 1995. A beautiful place to see gassho-zukuri farmhouses, the ones here have been well preserved and a few of them have become restaurants, minshuku, and museums showing the daily life and the washi paper and saltpeter industries that sustained the region.
On the other end of the tunnel, the Gokayama Gassho no Sato has a number of traditional farmhouses which have been relocated here in order to save them from destruction. However no one lives in them these days; they are instead used by school groups who can stay overnight in the houses and experience activities from traditional Gokayama life.
Hours: daily 9:00 to 16:30 Closed: December 29 to January 3 Admission: 210 yen (300 yen with Folk Museum) Typical Visit Duration: 15 minutes English: Minimal
Making saltpeter, an ingredient in gunpowder, was an important industry for the region during the Edo Period. This museum has exhibits on the procedures, tools and history of the industry in Gokayama.
Hours: daily 9:00 to 16:00 Closed: December 29 to January 3 Admission: 210 yen (300 yen with Saltpeter Museum) Typical Visit Duration: 15 minutes English: None
This folk museum displays tools and household items used in daily life. Some of the exhibited items include tools used for farming, raising silkworms and making washi paper.
This collection of relocated gassho-zukuri farmhouses is now a place where school groups can stay overnight and participate in activities based on Gokayama traditional life. Although not aimed at the individual traveler, the area is open to everyone, and you are free to see the houses from the outside.
This well preserved gassho-zukuri farmhouse is the largest one of its kind in the region. The first floor has rooms which were designed to entertain visiting lords, while the spacious upper floors display tools and household items used for farming and raising silkworms.
Alternatively, some buses along the bus route between Kanazawa and Shirakawago stop at Suganuma along the way (see timetable and fare details); however, it is only possible to board buses in direction of Kanazawa and get off buses in direction of Ogimachi, but not vice versa. Also, these buses do not serve Suganuma, at all, from December through March.
From Ogimachi, Suganuma can be reached in about 30 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, Suganuma is reached in about two minutes.