D9: The Unparalleled Sight (Shirakawa)

Hello again everyone! It has been a wonderful trip so far. Time sure flies, it feels like we have just arrived but in fact we’re already nearing the end of our trip 😩 Today’s highlight will be Shirakawago, one of the tourist attractions in Gifu Prefecture.

We started the ninth day early, because we have booked a bus to Shirakawago at 9.10 AM. The one way ticket from Kanazawa Station to Shirakawago Bus Stop costs „1850 per person and takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to reach. You can see the schedule and book the ticket here. However, if you book via the link we gave you, the only method of payment is credit card. After you completed your payment, the e-ticket will be sent to your email and simply show it to the driver before boarding the bus.

For your information, there is also a hotel that provides a half day tour to Shirakawago with bus, but it departs from Takayama area. The name of the hotel is J-Hoppers Hida Takayama Guesthouse. However, since there is a direct bus from Kanazawa Station to Takayama, tourists often visit Takayama area before Shirakawago, which makes the half-day tour popular. The tour costs „4400 per person, but if you stay at J-Hoppers Guesthouse, you will get an additional discount of „500. You can check it out here.

As one of UNESCO’s heritage sites, a historical village with traditional houses called Gassho-Zukuri. It literally means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. The architectural style developed over many generations and is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter.

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Lets take a look at the signboard first. No worries, you won’t get lost. You can also get the map from Tourist Information Center at the bus stop, or download here.
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Gassho-Zukuri farmhouse.

Here, you can also walk uphill to see the villages from the top. It was quite a walk though, but with the typical mountain fresh air atmosphere, we bet that you won’t feel too tired. So, we suggested that you walk uphill and enjoy the view. Prior to climbing, there was a stack of snow on the right side of the road. Off to examine we go!

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It looked like this.
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Wanted to taste how does it feel like to touch snow with her very own bare hands.
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Halfway to the top..
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Mount Tateyama is within sight.
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Arrived, and the rumor is true! You can see the entire village from the top.
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Look at how beautiful God’s creations are.

We went down after enjoying the view and taking some photos. By the way, the Shirakawago tourist area is quite compact, so you can just walk forth and back with ease. You can take your time and stop to take photo without spending too much time. There are restaurants, food stalls, souvenir shops and also a place called Wada House. It allows you to enter the famous Gassho-Zukuri and see what is inside. The admission fee is „300 for adult.

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The stairs are steep. Mind your balance.
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This is how the interior looks like.
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The view from Wada House’s window.
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The souvenir shops dominate the area. We believe that there is more than 5 big souvenir shops there.
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This is just one of the example.
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Just casually looking at one of flower shop available in the area.
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The natives are still doing their daily activities without being disturbed by the tourists.
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The natives are mostly farmers. During our visit, they were just starting to prepare their paddy field to restart plantation.
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What are these??? Yes, correct! These are the Scarecrows gang!
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After walking for almost an hour or so, we decided to treat ourselves a nice cup of tea.
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Moving on to another Gassho-Zukuri located in the center of the area.
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Even the camera understand that the main focus should be her.
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This is one of the lucky farmhouse. While everyone else’s snow has melted. It still has solid ones here.
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Another click please. Closer one this time.
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This bridge marked the end of the Shirakawago area.
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Nah.

Our leisure trip in Shirakawago took us around 4 hours, so we finished strolling around 3 PM. Since our bus back to Kanazawa is scheduled at 4.25 PM, we decided to end our hunger by eating at nearby restaurant, before heading back to the bus stop to wait for our bus. Don’t worry guys, on average people only spend around 2-2.5 hours here, ours is different since we want to make sure we enjoy it to the fullest.

Unfortunately lots of our photos in Shirakawago is currently inaccessible due to my carelessness for leaving it on Shinkansen, thankfully the Shinkansen corp managed to find it. God is super goooooood! Hence, we will update this post later with better photos upon receiving the camera back. So, that’s it for D9, we will be back with Alpine Route’s post on D10. We thank you for reading this to the end! Kindly stay tune for more!

Cheers,
Charlie & Pricilia.

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