[Trip] Japan, Gifu – A day at Shirakawago during Winter

A day visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site, Shirakawago, the famous traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses and some of which are more than 250 years old. The annual lightup event during winter was the reason we were there, we explored the little village after we got our tickets to the observatory deck.

However, if you are unable to get a ticket up to the observatory deck, you can still walk around the village and get up close to the light up gassho house at night.

I have listed down on some of the place of interest to visit, not to be missed photo-taking spot and where to have your meal when you are hungry and need to replenish energy.

What to take note of?

  • Wear non-slip boots/shoes
  • heavy winter clothing, as it is especially cold at night and temperature can dip below zero. Some roads might get icy.
  • It is recommendable to bring a flashlight as it can be dangerous to walk on the icy streets at night.

Places of interest

Walking Map

Wada House (和田家)

A variety of artefacts and traditional items that were used in the house by successive generations of the Wada family are exhibited on the first floor (Partial) and the second floor is open to the public.

Where?

Operating hour?

09:00~17:00

Closing date is irregular

Cost?

Adult

300JPY

Child

150JPY

To note:

You do not have to enter the house taking the photo from the outside is beautiful too if you do not have enough time.


Shirakawa Hachiman Shrine

Where?

Operating hour?

09:00~17:00

24/7

Cost?

Free


Kanda House

With 160 years of history, the Kanda house is a dignified gassho style house that has been finished in a high standard, as can be seen from its features such as the floor plan and long roof beams.

Where?

Operating hour?

09:00~17:00

Cost?

Adult

300JPY

Child

150JPY


Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck

The Ogimachi Castle Observation Deck is open daily and a great place to look over the village. It is closed during winter except for the lightup event where you will be able to view the village at night.

Where?

Operating hour?

24/7

Closed during winter

Cost?

Free

How to get there?

  • Walk up the hill about 15-20mins from the shirakawago bus terminal
  • Take the Shuttle Bus
    – Cost (One Way): 200JPY Adult
    – Pay cash only on the bus- Operation time: 9:00~15:40  (Last bus 15:40)
    – Departure on every 20 minutes (00,20,40)
    – Bus stop:

Access is closed during winter, except for lightup event. To know more visit here.


Fun/Photo taking Spot

A slide made from snow was built and it was so fun.

Snow Sculpture

 

 


Where to eat?

Hakuraku

Most of the shops are closed that day, we chance upon this restaurant which was hidden inside the souvenir shop.

Where?

Operating hours

09:00-21:00

Menu

English (X)

Japanese (O)

The interior is bright and comfortable, you will feel like you are at someone’s house.

What we had? 

Kodai Rice Curry- 950JPY *Recommended

Chuuka Soba (Spicy) a.k.a Ramen (Normal)- 750JPY *Recommended 

Chuuka Soba (Mild) Large- 850JPY *Recommended

Shirakawago Tofu (beancurd)- 500JPY *Recommended

Post-trip thoughts

The roadside was piled up with thick snow, everywhere was crowded with people who flocked here for the annual event and it was the light up event for the year. It was snowing the whole day non-stop which make taking photos a huge challenge, but the scenery was beautiful and it was a memorable experience.

I had plan to have our meal at their famous eatery but was too tired finding it then we chanced upon Hakuraku the restaurant which we had a delightful and filling meal, was not expecting the food to be that fantastic but now I will recommend anyone who is heading over to shirakawago to have their meal there.

 

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