1. Shiroyama Viewpoint (Tenshukaku Observatory)

Location: 889 Ogimachi | In front of Tenshukaku Restaurant, Shirakawa, Ono District, Gifu, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

A must-visit when in Shirakawa-go! This viewpoint offers a great view overlooking the famous houses, which are built in a unique architectural style known as gassho, surrounding farmland and mountains. The best time to visit is during winter when the triangular thatch-roof houses are covered in snow and in the summertime when vibrant green vegetation covers the fields.

To get to Shiroyama Viewpoint, walk a bit (100m from the “Shirakawa Bus Terminal” to the “Observatory Sightseeing Shuttle Bus Stop.” Shuttles leave every 20 minutes. One-way fare is JPY 200. Tenshukaku Restaurant, which serves traditional gassho style food, is located on top of the hill. If you want to take your time on your way back, consider walking & enjoy the view. It’s downhill so it’s less tiring.

Shirakawago, Ainokura & Gokayama Day Tour from Takayama

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Takayama and Shirakawa-go Day Trip from Nagoya

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To make your trip planning easy, I added links to the locations on Google Maps. Feel free to click/tap on the links posted. Then, use the “save” feature on the Google Maps app for easy reference. I’ve also shared photos from my Instagram feed. Feel free to use Instagram’s save feature for quick access later.

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2. Shirakawa-go Walking Tour

Shirakawa-go is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people’s social and economic circumstances. The best way to see the gassho-style houses is on a walking tour. Many of the houses are open to the public, so you can have a look inside and learn about the traditional way of life. The main spots include the Wada-ke House ( the largest gassho-zukuri farmhouse in town), Kanda-ke House, Nagase-ke House and Myozenji Temple.

3. Gassho Zukuri Minkaen Outdoor Museum

Location: 2499 Ogimachi, Shirakawa, Ono District, Gifu, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

Located across the river from Ogimachi village center, this open-air museum is filled with gassho-zukuri farmhouses that have been relocated from the surrounding villages in an effort to save them from destruction. The Gassho Zukuri Minkaen Outdoor Museum is set in a peaceful scenic area, perfect for photo-ops. Other structures include a watermill, a shrine, and a temple’s main hall preserved in their original state.

Shirakawa-go Hotel/Hostel Reservation

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4. Deai Bridge

Location: Ogimachi, Shirakawa. Save on Google Maps.

Passed by this pedestrian suspension bridge on my way between the Gassho Zukuri Minkaen Outdoor Museum and the Ogimachi village center. The Deai Bridge is a picturesque vantage point of the Sho River and surrounding mountains.

5. Eat Traditional Shirakawa-go Food

Eating local food is one of the best ways to get a better appreciation of the traditional way of life in Shirakawa-go. During my trip, I enjoyed a nice lunch at Tenshukaku Restaurant (located at Shiroyama Viewpoint) since it was included in the tour packaged that I booked. You can also find a number of restaurants in the main village. The must-tries include home-made soba (buckwheat) noodles, river fish, tofu, fresh vegetables & Hide beef.

6. Try Soba Ice Cream

Buckwheat or Soba is popularly grown in the mountainous areas of Japan. In Shirakawago, you can enjoy not only home-made soba noodles but also soba ice-cream. I had my taste of soba soft-serve at the Gassho Zukuri Minkaen Outdoor Museum. It’s perfect while having a break from walking around the village.

7. Ainokura Village

Location: Ainokura, Nanto, Toyama 939-1915, Japan. Save on Google Maps.

Ainokura is one of the three villages with gassho-style farmhouses designated as UNESCO World Heritage site. It is the most remote, so it gets fewer tourists compared to Ogimachi in Shirakawa-go. Ainokura was the first stop of the tour package that I booked. As soon as the bus stopped at the village, I hopped off and followed the 10-minute trail uphill to the Ainokura Observatory, which offered a nice overlook of the area.

8. Takayama

Takayama was my base when I went to Shirakawa-go village in Gifu prefecture. This town is famed for its well-preserved wooden merchants’ houses dating to the Edo Period and a place to taste delicious Hida Beef. Takayama is also the gateway to the hiking paradise of the Japan Alps.

What places have you added to your bucketlist? Have you been to beautiful places in Shirakawa-go that should be on this list? Feel free to share your thoughts!

Places to visit in Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go tourist spots, things to do in Shirakawa-go, where to go in Shirakawa-go & more.

Note: Destinations featured above are not listed by rank.

Where to Stay in Takayama

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Book sooner rather than later if you already have your dates set. Cheaper-priced rooms and hotels with high reviews tend to get fully booked faster, especially during busy days like weekends, holidays & peak tourist seasons.

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Shirakawa-go Essentials & Top Discounts

JR Pass for Whole Japan

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JR Takayama-Hokuriku Area Tourist Pass (5 Days)

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Shirakawago, Ainokura & Gokayama Day Tour from Takayama

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Takayama and Shirakawa-go Day Trip from Nagoya

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