Located in Gifu Prefecture, Shirakawa-go is known for its houses with steep rafter roofs registered as World Heritage sites in 1995. Not only Japanese tourists but also foreign tourists who learn about the place through word of mouth and anime are recently spotted. I’ll tell you about 5 points you must know before visiting Shirakawa-go.
1. To know characteristics of each house
As houses with steep rafter roofs are residents, you can’t see inside in many cases, but some are open to tourists, so make sure to stop by. Although they are all houses with steep rafter roofs, each is different as it was built in a different time with a different structure. So I recommend you visit several houses. Then, you should comply with the minimum manner remembering that you’re visiting people’s houses.
2. Considering when to visit
Shirakawa-go changes its facade drastically at each season. While spring, summer, and autumn appeals to any Japanese person with Japan’s prototype landscape, but the snowy landscape is exceptionally great. The contrast between the rafter roofs and the snow-covered world makes you forget about your busy daily life. Also, the village is sometimes lit up at night in winter, you should try to catch that. Of course, it’s enjoyable in any other season, so you should visit there in each season.
3. Experience traditional culture
Shirakawa-go has traditional crafts transmitted from generation to generation with facilities where you can experience them. You can experience making soba noodles and rice cakes, but I recommend you try something you can’t experience usually, such as straw crafts and dye. They cost below 1,000 yen, so it’s highly recommended for families with children and those who want to participate at a reasonable prices.
4. View from above
Shirakawa-go has an observatory looking over the village. You should get a different impression compared to the village you see from the ground. As it’s an excellent spot to take photos, why don’t you snap a photo to commemorate your trip?
5. Staying overnight
As some houses are inns, you should take advantage and stay overnight. It’s not your everyday experience to stay at a world heritage site. It’s a great opportunity to feel the warmth of wood and savor local dishes, so you’ll surely remember your stay for the rest of your life. However, as it’s extremely popular, you should make sure to check availability and book your room beforehand.
This post is also available in: Japanese