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Shirakawa-go accommodations 2007/5/8 13:53
Shirakawa
Can anyone who's been to Shirakawa-go and stayed at a ryokan there share your thoughts on the place you stayed at? I am planning a trip in August. Would like know where to stay.

Does anyone know if the prices listed on this website are per guest or per room?

http://www.vill.shirakawa.gifu.jp/e/stay/index.html

Thanks a lot!
by travelerFYL  

Takayama 2007/5/16 03:54
The ryokan price is per person and includes 2 meals. Most of the ryokan in Shirakawa are pricey. You might want to stay somewhere like the Minshuku Kuwataniya in Takayama (Y4,200 per person) and rent a car to explore Shirakawa. Having a car makes it easier to get around town, up to the tenbodai overlook, or farther afield to Ogi-machi.
http://kuwataniya.com/english/english.htm
Tocoo is a good place to rent cars for a day or two.
http://www.tocoo.com/english/
by Anaguma rate this post as useful

Shirakawago is great 2007/5/16 05:55
I stayed at Kanja ryokan in Shirakawago about a year ago. Made my res thru japaneseguesthouses.com. The atmosphere in Shira is not to be missed, taking you back a few centuries ago. Especially nice and quiet in the late afternoon after the daytrippers have left.
by Kawaka rate this post as useful

... 2007/5/22 11:09
I stayed at the Magoemon, which, for some reason is named "Sonemon" on the vill.shirakawa.gifu.jp website. I can highly recommend it.
by Uji rate this post as useful

to drive or not to drive, that is the Q 2007/6/8 15:22
All of you are very kind to offer advice. Staying at a ryokan in Shirakawa or staying in Takayama then rent a car to explore both sound appealing. What will help me decide is knowing more about two things associated with driving in Japan:
1. How much road toll should I expect to pay for Takayama - Shirakawa-go - Seki - Gifu? I've read that the road tolls are very expensive in Japan.
2. For a US driver or someone who's never driven on the right side of the car/ left side of the road, will it be dangerous to drive in Japan? Does anyone know what it's like to drive in the rural areas?
by travelerFYL rate this post as useful

... 2007/6/8 15:59
Previous month I went to Shirakawago, and I drove from Tokyo but I did stay at Toyama. It wasn't that expensive to drive from Toyama though. Around 2000 yen or less if I remembered. Certainly it is advisable to have a car to get around as it is not easy in getting cabs in rural areas.
by -eric- rate this post as useful

... 2007/6/8 16:07
How much road toll should I expect to pay for Takayama - Shirakawa-go - Seki - Gifu?

You have the choice of using toll-free roads or paid expressways.

There is no expressway between Shirakawago and Takayama. Between Shirakawago and Nagoya, the expressway toll will be 2550 Yen (Hida-Kiyomi to Seki) and about 2000 Yen (Seki to Nagoya).

For a US driver or someone who's never driven on the right side of the car/ left side of the road, will it be dangerous to drive in Japan?

Most people will require 1-3 days to get used to it. You will need to keep an extra high level of concentration and caution during the first few hours and days.

Does anyone know what it's like to drive in the rural areas?

If you stick to national routes and expressways, you will have nice roads, bilingual signs and considerate drivers. Less important roads may be narrow. Sometimes too narrow for two cars to pass each other; and signs are often in Japanese only.
by Uji rate this post as useful

National Highways 2007/7/27 17:22
Just a few days before the trip- very excited! We have reserved a rental car.

Some questions still:

Are National Highways toll-free? Specifically Route 41, route 360, and route 156.

Does take about 1.5 hours or less to drive from Takayama to Shirakawa-go each way, since we won't make stops like the buses?

Thanks again!
by travelerFYL rate this post as useful

National roads 2007/7/30 07:50
I know for a fact that 41 and 156 are toll-free; 360 I suspect is as well, the toll-roads usually have names.
41 is a beautiful drive but it can be frustrating at times; it is a truck route as well - the road is curvy and the trucks don't pull over EVER to let traffic by if it backs up behind them. Still, the road follows the river and there are ample places to stop and get something to eat or walk around, to take a break.
156 is beautiful as well, and has the added advantage of the expressway just parallel; if you think you're going too slow you can hop on the expressway for a bit. Stop at Gujo-hachiman if you are going by, it's a charming small castle town.
The major expressways take credit cards - we've used our American MasterCard - so even if you haven't budgeted for using it, you can charge it if it comes to that.
I haven't driven to Shirakawa-go in August - the last bit of the drive in particular is a fairly narrow road, so if there is a lot of traffic I'd think it could be slow. But 1.5 to 2 hours should be enough.
by Spendthrift rate this post as useful

... 2007/7/30 10:12
Usually translated as "National Routes" (kokudo), they are toll-free. Only expressways (kosokudoro) and a small number of some scenic routes, tunnels and bridges cost something.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Trip Report 2007/8/18 16:01
Thanks to Anaguma, Kawaka, Uji, eric, and Spendthrift. Your information help me and my boyfriend with our Japan trip very much!

We stayed at Minshuku Kuwataniya in Takayama. Saw the old streets, drank flowing mountain spring water from a roadside well, had satisfying meals at the Minshuku, enjoyed the room/ the generous air conditioning/ the hot spring bath in there, and visited the morning market.

Part of the National Route #360 was closed off for construction on the day we drove from Takayama to Shirakawa-go. The agent at Mazda Car Rental was very nice and helped us programmed the GPS system to take a different road from Takayama. We ended up taking 158 then North on 156. One-way was 1 hour 20 mins. We paid 650 for toll each way and 300 parking in Shirakawa-go before walking through the foot bridge to the village. Fuel was 1859 for about 3 hours of driving. These costs didn't bother us at all because the routes and tunnels we drove through look new and it was a very scenic drive. The whole experience of visiting Shirakawa-go is beyond the money we paid.

The first 20 mins of driving was extremely nerve-wrecking. On top of the reverse positioning of everything, the streets of Takayama are very narrow- we accidentally hit a street light with the left side mirror! Although we didn't break the mirror, the collision was enough to keep the two of us on high alert through out the entire drive.

We also went to Tokyo and Kyoto on this trip but the time spent in Takayama and Shirakawa-go was definitely the highlight of our trip.
by travelerFYL rate this post as useful

Accomodation in shirakawa-go & takayama 2007/8/18 22:18
Hi TravelerFYL, I am planning a trip to Takayama & Shirakawa-go Apr 2008. So is Minshuku Kuwataniya worth the stay? I am planning to book this minshuku for my trip. Which minshuku did u stay in shirakawa-go? How did u book them
by CYC rate this post as useful

Accomodation in shirakawa-go & takayama 2007/8/22 16:29
We had a very comfortable stay at Minshuku Kuwataniya. Good size room for 2, walking distance to train station and sightseeing locations, food is great (we loved having dinner with local families in the same tatami dinning room), the onsen bath is clean. You can google "Minshuku Kuwataniya" for their detail info.

This is the only minshuku we stayed at. I am sure there are other good ones in Takayama.

We drove to Shirakawa-go in one morning and drove back to Takayama later the same day (1 hr 20mins each way). So we didn't stay at a minshuku in Shirakawa-go. You can look up for Shirakawa-go accomodations at:
http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/db/shirakawago/index.htm
then follow the "Reservation Form". They are pricier than Takayama though.
by travelerFYL rate this post as useful

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