Shirakawa-go (Shirakawa Village) is a Japanese mountain settlement in what was once considered a wild and unexplored region. Because of the area’s natural environment, with high mountains and heavy snowfall, interaction with neighboring regions was limited. However, this also created the conditions for the development of unique cultural practices and lifestyles. Now registered as a World Cultural Heritage site.
Attractions in Shirakawago & Gokayama
Ogimachi is the largest village and main attraction of Shirakawa-go. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, the village is home to several dozen well preserved gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old.
Shirakawago Winter Light-Up. The main reason for the steep roofs and massive structure of Shirakawago’s farmhouses is the large amount of snow the region receives every winter. Ogimachi Village typically gets covered by one to two meters of snow during the peak of the white season. While causing the locals quite a bit of hardship, the snow turns Shirakawago into an idyllic winter landscape.
Ainokura Village. Set far back in the valley, Ainokura is the most remote village in the Gokayama region. It is also the largest of the villages with nearly 20 gassho-zukuri farmhouses. Many of them remain private residences, although a few have been converted into restaurants, museums, and minshuku.
Suganuma, one of the main attractions of Gokayama, is made up of two areas, Suganuma Villageand the Gokayama Gassho no Sato. Pleasant and easy to explore on foot, the two areas are connected to each other by a tunnel, which also connects to the parking lot on the hill overlooking the village via an elevator.