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“Beautiful and well preserved village.”

Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen
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2-Day Tateyama Kurobe Route: Shirakawago, Hida-Takayama from Nagoya
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Reviewed October 12, 2012

I feel this is one of the best places I visited during this trip to Japan. Very nice and cosy. The town people were just so friendly that I wish to visit it again during the festival!

2  Thank cochleartraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed September 23, 2012

I know this seems a long time ago, but after reviewing places we went to this year, I felt I needed to say some things about our first overseas trip in October 2010, which, at the time I neglected to do. I do hope this review is included as I hardly think things have changed that much in 2 years! I was asked why Japan for our first overseas trip and the reason? I have a penfriend who lives in Chigasaki, first letter from her in 1963 and still writing to each other (lived in Yokohama when we first started writing).
Ogimachi was a truly amazing place tucked away in the central mountains of Japan. I had seen a photo in a travel section of my newspaper looking from the top of the hill into the valley and after seeing the photo we decided this had to be on our itinerary. It is also because this place is a World Heritage Site that determined us even more to stay here.
We stayed in one of the gasso houses and were treated to a tradtional Japanese dinner, accommodation and breakfast.
One the second day, we tripped around the houses and were able to see first hand how the thatched roofs are restored. To get to Ogimachi, we rode a bus from Takayama through so many tunnels, some a quite a few kilometres long, not to forget to see the incredible fly overs to and from Takayama to Ogimachi. This place is a must for travellers as it gives an insight into the lives of the local people whose existence probably hasn't changed much over the years, except adapting some up-to-date modern conveniences.

8  Thank trueblueaussie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 4, 2012

One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Takayama was to see the preserved thatched-roof farmhouses of Shirakawa-go. I'd already visited the Hida Folk Museum in Takayama, which features several relocated gassho-zukuri farmhouses, but the vast majority of surviving farmhouses are found in Ogimachi.

The bus ride from Takayama takes about an hour. Shirakawa-go is a very touristy area with an open-air museum featuring 25 gassho-zukuri farmhouses that are open to the public. I was even brave / crazy enough to climb up to the third floor of a farmhouse and shuffle (shoeless, naturally!) along a thin wooden plank about 12" wide from one side of the roof to the other. Did I mention that there are no handrails? And the floor is open to the three stories below? Hint: don't look down.

The evolution of these farmhouses is ingenious. The top level of the farmhouses had slats so that the woodsmoke from the indoor fireplaces (cough, cough!) could drift upwards. Various wooden platforms held meats for smoking, and at the top level were the silkworm cocoons. The smoke also served to keep insects out of the thatched roof. Also, no nails were used in the construction; the grass roof is held in place by ropes. When a new roof is put on (they're made from local susuki grass and can last 30 to 40 years), it costs 200,000 dollars to reroof and requires a lot of manpower. The grass is sewn into place using huge wooden needles!

I then headed across the (heavily swaying) footbridge that connects to Ogimachi, a town where people actually still LIVE in many of the gassho-zukuri houses. Still touristy, but there are laundry lines and proof that people live there. I visited the damp Myozen-ji Temple Museum (and climbed up to the third floor and walked the plank...again!) and wandered around for a bit before heading back for the bus stop. Admission to the "museum buildings" is pretty cheap (around 300-500 yen admission per house in Ogimachi, and 500 yen for the Shirakawago Gassho-zukuri Folklore Park).

A very unique experience...several of the gassho-zukuri operate as hotels / inns if you are interested in spending the night.

7  Thank Bundtlust
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 4, 2012

neva miss out the Shiroyama Viewpoint that give excellent view of the whole village from atop, surrounded with mountains , some of these houses still have residents, u might see smoke coming out of their chimneys in the noon time whn they cook. Especially like the Wada-ke house where they offer yummy tea for travellers & i like the smell of these house since they have to lit the fire place daily to maintain the house in gd condition, it jus gives a nice feeling of liveliness , feels like the house is alive

3  Thank meiyih
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2012

This place is really beautiful beyond words! Blue sky, white clouds, crystal clear stream water and snow capped mountains surrounding a village with beautiful houses, what can one ask for? Visit one of the Gassho houses to experience the simple and yet wise way of living of the village folks. There's ryokan for those who are interested to spend a night here. Do walk up the hill for a bird eye's view of the village. Would definitely come to this place again!

2  Thank HweeMei
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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