Visit Shirakawago: The Japanese Fairy Tale Village

shirakawago Places to visit in Japan

Shirakawago is a beautiful mountain village where you can enjoy the good old Japanese countryside view. It is registered as World Heritage Site and is one of the most popular places to visit in Japan both for international tourists as well als Japanese tourist. Once you step into this beautiful fairy tale world, you will completely lose a track of time. 

Best places to visit in Shirakawago

Shirakawago is known as a fairytale village with some remarkable traditional Japanese houses that date back over 100 years. The houses are constructed in a traditional architectural style called Gassho-zukuri: thatched roofs sloped from both sides, designed this way so that snow doesn’t stack up on the roof. It also resembles the shape of two hand put together for praying at shrines or temples.

Gassho Style Architecture examples


Kanda House 

The Kanda House was built in the Gassho style architecture over 160 ago. It took over 10 years to built this 4 storied house and now it is one of the most famous Gassho style houses you can enter. .You can see how people used to live there looking through furnishings at the house. There are a pond and garden that can be visited and on the second floor, a guide tells the history of the family and house.

Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun

Also, there is Irori, Japanese style hearth, which used to be essential to keep everyone warm inside and was also used for cooking. It keeps a fire on all year and still today and you can try some homemade wild grass tea they made at Irori. You can enter the 4th floor which used to be used as a storage. But it is a small space so only up to 3 people can get in at a time. 

Wada House 

Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun

The Wada House is the biggest Gassho style house in Shirakawago with over 300 years of history. A part of the first and second floor are open for public and you can see the exhibition of relics of the family and tools they used over generations. The Wada family still lives in the house so not all rooms are accessible to the public.

Observation Deck 


This is the best spot to take pictures of Shirakawago. You see the houses were built to face the same direction to avoid the snow and wind. There is a shuttle bus that you can take to get there. Take a bus from Wada House and get off at Shiroyama Tenshukaku Parking. Check the chart below about the shuttle bus! It will cost 200 yen for one way. 

Bus Stop Operation Hours Departure time 
Wada house 9:00-15:40Every 20 minutes (00,20,40) 
Shiroyama Tenshukaku Parking 9:00-16:10Every 20 minutes (10,30,50) 

Shirakawago Tajimake Yosan Sericulture Museum 

This area used to operate a flourishing silk farming industry and a museum was opened to show the history of sericulture in Shirakawago. If you are lucky and visit there in the right season (June), you can actually see the silkworms and actually hear the sound of munching! This is the only museum specialized in sericulture and the exhibition helps you understand the history and the whole process. They have an English description so that you can understand and the admission fee is only ¥200. 

Places to eat in Shirakawago

Hida Beef
Photo by (c)Tomo.Yun

Hida beef is the local beef raised in Gifu prefecture and is considered as high quality black haired Wagyu. Once you have them in your mouth it will melt in a second. When you visit Shirakawago, you should definitely taste Hida beef!


They specialized Hida beef and they offer A4 and A5 ranked beef which is the best quality beef. If you haven’t decided which restaurant you would like to go, this is the place! 


Have traditional Japanese lunch at this Gassho style restaurant. Soba noodle and Tofu menu is recommended. 

Bunka Kissa Kyoshu 

If you want to take a break, go to this quiet and calm coffee place. Take a seat by the window and enjoy the beautiful view of rice field and the temple. Only adult is allowed and using phone at the cafe is not allowed. 

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Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

You feel like time has stopped for a long time when you walk around in Shirakawago. Add this to your bucket list and start planning your trip in Japan! If you have any questions or can use some help planning your trip, we will happily help you make your itinerary.

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