Travel Winter in Japan

Japan Year-end Getaway : Shirakawa-go

One of the worthy neighboring villages close to Takayama is Shirakawa-go and it is why we decided to visit Gifu in the first place. Hundred articles read, thousand pictures admired, and stories heard of this UNESCO World Heritage Site had brought my intention through.

Day 3 (2018-12-31) : Takayama – Shirakawa – Nagoya

Shirakawa-go can be reached by highway buses from most major cities including Takayama. Most of them require a seat reservation and some not available during public holidays. We couldn’t make any reservation. Well, considering that the place would still be crowded due to the New Year break with less transport, we kinda prepared for it. Renting a car hence popped up as a first choice. We then visited where a car can be easily rented. We also tried different agencies but none of them has a shop for pick-up near Takayama Station. The price is fair. Roughly 8,000yen for rental fee + fuel fee and another 2,000yen for the tollway. If you have four people carpool, this would even be a better option than a bus (4,420yen for round trip Takayama – Shirakawago)

More info for buses to Shirakawa village:

Fifty minutes later, we arrived at the village. I first planned to spend only a few hour exploring this dreamy spot everyone once wishes to come. That never happened haha. Almost two hours passed but I was still unconsciously snapping hundreds of pictures of the bridge at the rear entrance (leading us to the village from the parking lot). Almost forgot to note here, additional 1,000yen shall be saved for a car park.

There we made it to the village! The village’s vibrant green, red, and warm hues can be uniquely witnessed in spring and autumn. But nothing comes close to the magical awe one can experience here in winter. The entire village was covered white with layers of snow, such a picturesque moment to remember, giving me a feeling that I was about to enter into an amazing wonder marshmallow land. The highlight of the village is its numerous houses with triangular façade which are called Gassho Zukuri.

It’s lovely to explore everything on foot. Every corner of the road is instagrammable. They are all magnificent. But one of the best views you can get of the town is from Shiroyama Observatory. There is a shuttle bus service that ferries tourists from the main highway to the observatory. It costs you 100yen for on-way trip which I considered the best choice since walking would take at least 20 minutes of your time and the way would be too slippery at the time like this.

Hanging around until sunset is a must in many articles you might have seen. We would surely do if the place runs regularly. Not many stalls and zero restaurant ran today as a New Year’s Eve. So, we couldn’t wait with empty tummies.

Still I can’t wait to go back for spring or summer experiences at this very charming village!

Also, see my next day of this Japan travel series in JAPAN YEAR-END GETAWAY : NABANA NO SATO

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