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help! Shirakawago advice needed

NYC
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help! Shirakawago advice needed

Going to Japan for the first time. Is it worth it to travel the 4 hours from Kyoto to Shirakawago? We were booked into Kyoto for 4 nights which seemed too much for folks not all that interested in temples, and I saw this was a World Heritage site; we thought we could split the Kyoto visit up and take one night to go further afield. 1) Can anyone advise as to how long a visit to Shirakawago might take once we are there, meaning, is it "worth" a whole day of visiting, or a few hours worth of sightseeing? 2) Also, how geographically spread out is it? Meaning-- is it walkable? Or do we need wheels? 3)Are there guides there that speak English, or is it do it yourself? 4) Finally can you book train reservations from Kyoto to Kanawaza from abroad and if so how? We are having trouble getting schedules and as we don't have much time, need to pin down the specifics to see if it is doable. Thanks!

Vancouver, Canada
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for Tohoku, Hokkaido
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1. Re: help! Shirakawago advice needed

Shirakawa-go is reached by bus from either Kanazawa or Takayama, shorter bus trip and more frequent departures from Takayama. http://japan-guide.com/bus/shirakawago.html. You've to reserve your bus beforehand.

Kanazawa is more directly accessable from Kyoto, 2.5 hr. by JR, whereas Takayama is more than 3 hr. by JR with a change. Ideally without back-track, start at one end, say Kanazawa, go by bus to Shirakawa-go, then bus to Takayama and back to Kyoto. Both Kanazawa and Takayama are worth visiting if you have time.

If you don't have time to experience an over-night stay at one of the gassho-zukuri farmhouses, you can just tour the area on foot. If you're really pressed for time, you can cover the whole area in a couple of hours. http://shirakawa-go.org/

For train reservations, you can do it in Kyoto. I don't think you need to do it before arriving. Just check the schudules beforehand: www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi

Tokyo
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2. Re: help! Shirakawago advice needed

Firstly, I'd show a model itinerary. You can't catch the am bus from Kanazawa, so you need to get to Takayama first.

Kyoto 7:53--(Nozomi non-reserved)-->8:30 Nagoya 8:43--(Hida reserved)-->10:52 Takayama 11:50--(Nohi Bus)-->12:40 Shirakawago

Price: JR; 9,270 yen, Nohi Bus; 2,400 yen

Shirakawago 17:50--(Nohi Bus)-->19:05 Kanazawa 19:40--(Limited express Raicho, reserved)-->22:04 Kyoto

Price: Nohi Bus; 3,300 yen, JR 6,910 yen

Total: 21,880 yen

Bus timetable: www.japan-guide.com/bus/shirakawago.html

Reservations are mandatory for the bus.

Nohi Bus call center: +81(0)577-32-1688

Train schedule search: www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi

>>1) Can anyone advise as to how long a visit to Shirakawago might take once we are there, meaning, is it "worth" a whole day of visiting, or a few hours worth of sightseeing?<<

Refer to the itinerary. A five-hour visit is good enough in my opinion.

>>2) Also, how geographically spread out is it? Meaning-- is it walkable?<<

It's a small village and walkable throughout the village.

>>3)Are there guides there that speak English, or is it do it yourself?<<

You can get around by yourself.

>>4) Finally can you book train reservations from Kyoto to Kanawaza from abroad and if so how?<<

No. You can book train seats only after you come to Japan.

You might picture what this place is like through photos:

http://tinyurl.com/66w52n

BTW, if you make another day trip to Hiroshima, purchasing the 7-day Japan Railpass for 28,300 yen will make sense.

Philadelphia...
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3. Re: help! Shirakawago advice needed

My stay in Shirakawago, many years ago, was memorable, but consider going to Takayama instead for a night or two. http://wikitravel.org/en/Takayama#See There's more to see, and transportation is simpler. There's a direct train from Kyoto at 8:31 am--not as fast as taking the Shinkansen to Nagoya and changing, but easy and comfy.

No guide needed there either. Pick up a map at the Info office at the train station.

Spend a few dollars to take a taxi to Hida-no-Sato, the open-air house museum. Otherwise everything is in walking distance.

4. Re: help! Shirakawago advice needed

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