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Shirakawa-go help 2007/8/15 01:15
Shirakawa
Please provide your advice on follows:

1) accommodation
I plan to do an overnight at a gasshozukuri farmhouse. So far I only find one accommodation booking site with English available -http://japaneseguesthouses.com/db/shirakawago/koemon.htm. Has anyone used this site before?

In addition, I would like to know the best approach to making a reservation for a gasshozukuri farmhouse.

2) Bus
I plan to take the bus from Takayama to Shirakawa-go. Do I need to make a reservation?

Thank you very much for your help.
by Hong  

... 2007/8/15 08:43
So far I only find one accommodation booking site with English available -http://japaneseguesthouses.com/db/shirakawago/koemon.htm. Has anyone used this site before?

I have not used it by myself, but the site is known to be very reliable, although, the reservation process is not instant.

In addition, I would like to know the best approach to making a reservation for a gasshozukuri farmhouse.

Unless you speak Japanese, I recommend to make the reservation through the above website. If you speak Japanese, I recommend to make the reservation by phone:
http://www.vill.shirakawa.gifu.jp/e/stay/index.html

I plan to take the bus from Takayama to Shirakawa-go. Do I need to make a reservation?

Yes, reservations are mandatory. But if the bus is not booked out (it rarely is), then you can make the reservation just before departure. Advance reservations can be made at the Takayama bus station, by phone or at travel agents and convenience stores in Japan.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re Shirakawa-go help 2007/8/16 02:00
Thank you very much Uji.

Would I able to make a bus reservation by email since the bus web site(http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/a0_bus/teiki/sirakawago_exp.htm) is not available in English? If yes, would you be able to provide me the email address?

Again thank you so much.
by Hong rate this post as useful

Another Question 2007/8/16 02:10
Another question on this subject, but is it possible to take a bus from Takayama to Shirakawa-go (spending one night) and then head to Kanazawa?
by B_in_Ottawa rate this post as useful

Good route 2007/8/16 03:10
I did the Taka-Shira-Kana route by bus and it worked out perfect. I did not have reservations from Taka to Shira. Made reservations at the tourist center in Shira for my departure the next day. On both trips the buses were less than half full and this was in late October. I do remember having a hard time communicating with the lady in Shira. She didn't speak a word of english.
by kawa rate this post as useful

... 2007/8/16 09:07
Would I able to make a bus reservation by email since the bus web site(http://www.nouhibus.co.jp/a0_bus/teiki/sirakawago_exp.htm) is not available in English?

No. Bus reservations are not accepted by e-mail. But you can call and hope that they have an English speaker: 0577-32-1688

is it possible to take a bus from Takayama to Shirakawa-go (spending one night) and then head to Kanazawa?

Yes. Perfectly possible.

I did not have reservations from Taka to Shira.

Reservations are required only on the two "express services" that run between Takayama and Kanazawa, and even those can be made until just before departure time at the bus terminal, assuming that the bus is not booked out, which does not seem to happen (often).
by Uji rate this post as useful

Shirakawa-go 2007/8/16 13:18
I wrote a bit that I think all travelling to Shirakawa-go might find useful. In particular, an English speaking minshuku owner in Shirakawa-go (Shimizu) who I would have stayed with had she had room in her gassho zukuri house.

http://www.japan-guide.com/forum/quereadisplay.html?0+37039

Once you get to Shirakawa-go, the tourist office there can help you find one of the 21 gassho zukuri houses with room for the night.

Like I said in the above linked forum topic, a reservation is a very good idea as I almost got screwed over when I went, the lady at the Takayama bus office said just show up, I did, and the buses were "full up!!" as they kept blurting to me. Thankfully they found a solution.

Here is a review of the bus times, according to the pamphlet from the Takayama bus station, which I still have. Not sure if it's still up to date but it probably is:

Departures from Takayama (** goes to Kanazawa, 3 hours), 8:45, **9:30, 11:10, 14:40, **15:20, 17:35. To S-Go 2400 yen, to Kanazawa 3300 yen. A little discount for a round trip.

There are also buses going from Takayama to Matsumoto and back, to and from Nagoya, Kyoto & Osaka, and even Shinjuku in Tokyo.
by Jon rate this post as useful

Misstated my question 2007/8/16 22:27
I did not state my question properly.

Can you go from Kanazawa to Shira (stay one night) and then go to Takayama?
by B_in_Ottawa rate this post as useful

Kanazawa to Takayama 2007/8/16 23:02
B_in_Ottawa, you want to go the opposite way? You sure can! Here is the timetable for that route, according to the aforementioned pamphlet.

Departing Kanazawa for Shirakawa-go: 8:40 and 14:40, both taking 1h15m and costing 1800 yen. These two buses stop for 10 min and then continue to Takayama at 10:05 and 16:05 (as you can see them included in the list below).

From Shirakawa-go to Takayama: 5:56, 10:05, 12:15, 14:20, 16:05, and 17:15, taking around 2 hours and costing 2400 yen.
by Jon rate this post as useful

Thank You! 2007/8/16 23:33
Thanks, Jon, for all the information.
by B_in_Ottawa rate this post as useful

Kyoto-Shirakawa-go-Inuyama 2007/8/17 00:39
Jon, you seem very knowledgeable on the topic so I was wondering if you could help me as well?

I'm planning to go to Shirakawa-go from Kyoto, taking the shortest possible route in terms of time. Do you know the timetable for the bus/trains?

I'll be staying for two nights in a minshuku and then proceed to Meiji Mura in Inuyama. Could you please recommend a bus/train service to either Nagoya or Inuyama from Shirakawa-go?

Thank you so much!
by Anna rate this post as useful

Buses galore 2007/8/17 01:24
Anna, our great friends at Japan-guide.com have a great access page for Shirakawa-go and Takayama, but it seems like the main idea is that you'll have to take a bus or train from Kyoto to Takayama, a very nice city that you should consider seeing for a day before continuing on, and then the bus service from Takayama to Shirakawa-go (and eventually Kanazawa, yet another hidden gem of Japan).

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e5953.html

The bus service from Kanazawa has already been written above, so here it is for buses departing from Takayama: 8:45, 9:30, 11:10, 14:40, and 15:20. It takes about 2 hours and costs 2400 yen. Two of these buses (the 9:30 and 15:20 ones) continue onto Kanazawa after a 10 minute break.

And to get from Kyoto to Takayama, I could be reading this wrong because I don't know that much Japanese kanji, but I believe the departures are 9:28 and 17:38, the bus takes over 4 hours, and costs 4650 yen.

The above link does mention that there is a direct bus from Shirakawa-go to Nagoya for once you're finished with Shirakawa-go, but it's clearly labelled as only running from April to November. Alternately, you could take the bus back to Takayama and then take a very scenic train ride down to Nagoya. That train ride should take about 3-3.5 hours.

Again, just review the link above as it has almost all the information you need except maybe the exact departure times.
by Jon rate this post as useful

Train an Option 2007/8/17 01:42
You could also take the train from Kyoto to Takayama.

Check out the following link, which provides a lot of detail - from time of departures and arrivals, cost of the trip, number of times you have to change trains, whether rental car service is available at the train station, etc.

http://www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi
by B_in_Ottawa rate this post as useful

How about payment 2007/8/17 21:47
Thanks Jon!


With your useful information, I have made a room reservation at Shimizu in Shirakawago.

I have a general question about payment:

Can I use the credit card for Nohi Bus, restaurants, and admission fees for attractions in Takayama, Shirakawago and Kanazawa'?
by Hong rate this post as useful

Credit Cards 2007/8/18 14:40
I'm sorry Hong, but that is something I never needed to worry about on that trip. I find that bringing enough cash funds in your wallet was not a problem, safe enough, and eliminated the "use of cards of any sort" problem altogether. I would probably recommend doing that if you feel okay with it. Again, I'm sorry. My best guess though is that the bus center MIGHT accept credit cards but probably not the restaurants and places of interest. They're such small amounts anyway, right? You can pay that in cash can't you?
by Jon rate this post as useful

Hirase Onsen and beyond 2007/8/19 01:44
Thank you both for your help! I have some further questions after seeing this map: http://www.vill.shirakawa.gifu.jp/e/map/shirakawa.html

Do you know how to get to Hirase onsen and Hakusan falls from Ogimachi village? I'm assuming you can't really make it on foot, but must you rent a private car or is there a bus to take? Is there a separate tourist information office for Hirase/Hakusan or can I find information about them at the Shirakawa-go office?

Within Ogimachi, where should I head for to start on the path to the Shiroyama Viewpoint? Is it clearly signposted all along the path? I heard that it could take about 40min each way, is that about right?
by Anna rate this post as useful

Shirakawa-go 2007/8/19 14:47
Anna, from the map, they sure look far away! As I recall, only things within the village of Shirakawa-go could be reached by foot, including the viewpoint you mentioned. It's about a 30-40 minute walk one way, but to get there you have to climb up a reasonably steep hill. Still, nothing horrible. You can also take a bus, but for those timetables (and for all those other attractions you want to go to), I'm pretty sure the Shirakawa-go tourist office, right next to the main bus stop (like a 5 second walk away) can either point you in the right direction or more than likely, tell you exactly what to do. And yes, there are quite a few signs telling you where the Shiroyama Viewpoint is. You can also see it (and all the tiny tourists there, who look like little ants) from almost anywhere in Shirakawa-go village!
by Jon rate this post as useful

... 2007/8/19 17:42
Thanks Jon, that's helped a lot!
by Anna rate this post as useful

Shimizu minshuku 2007/9/16 01:07
Can anyone tell me which bus stop should we get off at in Ogimachi and how far the Shimizu minshuku is from the bus stop? We are coming from Takayama. Thank you!
by Karen rate this post as useful

... 2007/9/16 13:59
Can anyone tell me which bus stop should we get off at in Ogimachi and how far the Shimizu minshuku is from the bus stop?

All buses from Takayama stop at Shirakawago bus stop next to the entrance of the open air museum. Some buses also stop at Ogimachi bus stop at the northern end of the small town. The Shimizu is closer to Shirakawago bus stop. It is a 10 minute walk from there to the minshuku:
http://www.shimizuinn.com/
by Uji rate this post as useful

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