The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses

The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses

The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go Gassho Style Houses
4.5
Points of Interest & LandmarksHistoric Walking Areas
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Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • Andy F
    Devizes, United Kingdom1,260 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Like An Alpine Village
    Definitely a place to visit. For a European, it looks like a SWiss or Austrian alpine village. Lots to see and do in and among the house. Toilets, cafe, small shops. Idyllic-looking place, but probably very harsh in the winter snows.
    Visited September 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written September 30, 2023
  • MarkKwok
    140 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Beautiful place to visit
    I took the Nohi highway bus from Toyama (Bay #1 at Toyama Station South Exit). Tickets can be purchased online one month in advance. The fare is 2400 yen one way. There are no round trip tickets and must be purchased as two single trips. The confirmation email is the ticket. It's best to print it and show it to the driver. Seat numbers are assigned and set out in the email. Shirakawa-Go is absolutely beautiful. It's true that there are lots of tourists but there's a reason. It is big enough that each person still gets a lot of personal space. There is an observation area which is some 10 to 15 mins walk uphill. It's an easy walk. If not, there's a shuttle but it's not frequent so might as well do the walk. After you reach the top, lots of tourists gather at one area to take the iconic shot. Keep going up couple more minutes and there is a rest area with restaurant and another area to take photos. Down at the village, there are many places for take-out snacks and people who don't have much time ending up eating on the benches outside those take-out joints. There are some small restaurants. I noticed some people joining the queue, forgetting that at Japanese restaurants, one has to write their names and party size on a board at the restaurant entrance. Even if you line up, if you don't write your name, you won't be called. There are some houses opened for visits for a small fee. I recommend visiting at least one. I spent half a day there and really enjoyed my time there.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written November 6, 2023
  • liucy752
    Taipei, Taiwan1,243 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Like a fairy tale scenery
    A place that looks straight out of a fairy tale. It’s simply stunning and breathtaking.  The snow scene in winter (especially night view) is the most famous. Unfortunately, the snow was half gone when we visited. However, the scenery was still awesome. It is highly recommended to walk up to the observation point on the hill. You can enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of Gassho Village along the way. It is also great to pay to enter to visit the cottages to learn about its architecture and people's residences.
    Visited January 2024
    Traveled with family
    Written January 20, 2024
  • Mitsuki S
    7 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Shirakawa Village
    My visit to Shirakawa Village in October was truly enjoyable. As someone who appreciates peaceful experiences, I found it to be a serene getaway. I would definitely suggest it to others who are seeking a tranquil atmosphere amidst beautiful scenery.
    Visited October 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written February 21, 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles2,195 reviews
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1,210
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732
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195
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43
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Didge432
Sutherland Shire, Australia487 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Now, I’ve come to learn that living vicariously through insta snaps can somewhat raise your expectations. There weren’t too many snow covered roofs or picturesque images. This wasn’t people living in traditional ways in unaltered thatched food houses. In actual fact, there was a lot of slush and cars and plastic sheeting to keep out the snow. I guess I expected that being a heritage site, it would remain untouched. Naive perhaps. Tourism in Japan is an interesting thing. This is just one of many towns where tourists wander the streets, even between houses. Imagine a bus load of people getting off at the end of your street and taking selfies in front of your hydrangeas. However, in a struggling economy with declining birth rates, tourism is desperately needed.

In any case we walked to the top of the hill to the observatory to overlook the village. It was beautiful from a distance. At the very edge of the lookout stood a small shrine, boarded up in protection from the snow, but still holding the new year offering of two stacked mochi (rice cake) and dadai (bitter orange) on its step.

We did take some time to sample some Gohe-mochi (rice on a stick with sweet sauce), Korokke (mashed potato and mince, crumbed and fried) and beef steamed buns before heading for the bus back to Takayama.

I’ve given this an Average rating based on what I wrote above but it is with mixed feelings. I know people would disagree and that’s fair enough. I honestly felt that the Hida Folk Village was far better and more genuine in its approach to historical preservation.
Written January 7, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

MarkKwok
Vancouver140 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Couples
I took the Nohi highway bus from Toyama (Bay #1 at Toyama Station South Exit). Tickets can be purchased online one month in advance. The fare is 2400 yen one way. There are no round trip tickets and must be purchased as two single trips. The confirmation email is the ticket. It's best to print it and show it to the driver. Seat numbers are assigned and set out in the email.

Shirakawa-Go is absolutely beautiful. It's true that there are lots of tourists but there's a reason. It is big enough that each person still gets a lot of personal space. There is an observation area which is some 10 to 15 mins walk uphill. It's an easy walk. If not, there's a shuttle but it's not frequent so might as well do the walk. After you reach the top, lots of tourists gather at one area to take the iconic shot. Keep going up couple more minutes and there is a rest area with restaurant and another area to take photos.

Down at the village, there are many places for take-out snacks and people who don't have much time ending up eating on the benches outside those take-out joints. There are some small restaurants. I noticed some people joining the queue, forgetting that at Japanese restaurants, one has to write their names and party size on a board at the restaurant entrance. Even if you line up, if you don't write your name, you won't be called.

There are some houses opened for visits for a small fee. I recommend visiting at least one.

I spent half a day there and really enjoyed my time there.
Written November 6, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Genevieve L
Perth, Australia12 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
What an expensive waste of time! The bus fare is exorbitant for a 50 minute trip (¥52,000 per person, def a tourist rip-off) and when you get there there are a number of thatched houses, some pretty bulbs and that’s it other than the shops. Half an hour and you’re ready to leave again.
Written April 13, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Daniel Setiawan
South Tangerang, Indonesia170 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
This place is really popular, so better book in advance. I booked bus ticket to shirakawa day - 1 and can't get the good schedule (only 1.5 hours duration in shirakawa). Based on 1.5 hours experience, this place is really beautiful even if there is no snow. The architecture is unique, especially the roof. You can also get inside if you curious.
Written March 2, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

liucy752
Taipei, Taiwan1,243 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Family
A place that looks straight out of a fairy tale. It’s simply stunning and breathtaking. 

The snow scene in winter (especially night view) is the most famous. Unfortunately, the snow was half gone when we visited. However, the scenery was still awesome.

It is highly recommended to walk up to the observation point on the hill. You can enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of Gassho Village along the way.

It is also great to pay to enter to visit the cottages to learn about its architecture and people's residences.
Written January 20, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

irenesiah
Singapore, Singapore394 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Couples
Shirakawago was probably the reason for my visit to Japan in end December as I was hoping to see the famous winter wonderland. Unfortunately, there weren't enough snow at the point of arrival. Nonetheless, it is still a beautiful town with amazingly preserved historical houses. Though a little touristy and we can see why many people choose to do it as a day trip from Takayama/Kanazawa, we chose to take our time to stroll around the town and spend a night in a ryokan hotel (Onyado Yuinoshou).
Written February 13, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rae C
Brea, CA56 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2020
Very beautiful hidden village surrounded by mountains. It's reachable via Kanazawa, Nagoya, Toyama and maybe another city. The village itself is very small and very walkable, I suggest walking all around the village but please be mindful of the people who live there. Get your bus ticket early! We spent 5 hours exploring the village and it was plenty of time to explore all the streets of this village.
Written February 6, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Mitsuki S
7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2023 • Family
My visit to Shirakawa Village in October was truly enjoyable. As someone who appreciates peaceful experiences, I found it to be a serene getaway. I would definitely suggest it to others who are seeking a tranquil atmosphere amidst beautiful scenery.
Written February 21, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

EBV
11 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020
We booked a light-up bus tour on February 2. My friends were disappointed that it wasn't snowing. Without snow, it probably would be better to come in spring. Also, we think that the light-up would be better appreciated on the observatory deck. Still, the place was beautiful and we wish we could have spent more time there during daytime.
Written February 8, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Andy F
Devizes, UK1,260 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sep 2023 • Friends
Definitely a place to visit. For a European, it looks like a SWiss or Austrian alpine village. Lots to see and do in and among the house. Toilets, cafe, small shops. Idyllic-looking place, but probably very harsh in the winter snows.
Written September 30, 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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