Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are Cultural World Heritage Sites (#734) consisting of large gassho-style houses with steeply pitched tatched roofs. The Shirakawa-go village can be visited in a two day combination with various things to do in Kanazawa, or a lovely over-night stay in one of the gassho-style houses.
 
WHEN TO GO
The Shirakawa-go historic village is beautiful and can be seen year round. The area gets particular attention for its beauty during the winter season from December trough March, when the landscape and houses are covered in snow.
 
HOW TO GET THERE
From Kanazawa station it is easy to reach the Shirakawa-go village, simply just take the bus, which will make a stop at the Shirakawa-go bus stop. The bus journey takes about 1.5 hours. Be aware that the busses will get filled in the peak seasons, so buy your ticket at least a day in advance if you plan to go there for instance in December.
 
HOW LONG TO STAY
A weekend trip from Tokyo can either be divived into staying in Kanazawa and see some of the beautiful gardens, museums and castles or stay overnight in Shirakawa-go in one of the gassho-style houses. Shirakawa-go it self can be covered easily in about 4 hours.
 
DAY ONE
07.20AM - Shinkansen from Tokyo to Toyama
10.30AM - Bus from Toyama to Shirakawa-go
12.00PM - Arrive Shirakawa-go
12.30PM - Lunch
16.30PM - Bus to Kanazawa or stay over night
19.00PM - Dinner
 
DAY TWO
07.30AM - Breakfast
08.50AM - Kanazawa Kenrokuen or Bus from Shirakawa-go to Kanazawa
11.00AM - Myouryuji Temple (Ninja Temple)
12.00PM - Lunch
13.00PM - 21st century museum of Contemporary art
15.00PM - Kanazawa castle
17.00PM - Shinkansen from Kanazawa to Toyama
19.30PM - Arrive in Tokyo
 
HOW MUCH ARE THE COSTS
The highest expense on this trip will be the Shinkansen between Tokyo to Toyama and Kanazawa to Tokyo. So if you travel on the JR tourist pass, this will make your trip a lot cheaper
 
JPY 26,500 - Shinkansen tickets
JPY 3,550 - Bus tickets
JPY 4,000 - Kanazawa business hotel accommodation
JPY 1,000 - Entrance to 21st century museum of Contemporary art
JPY 800 - Entrance to Ninja temple
JPY 300 - Entrance to Kanazawa Kenrokuen
 
Total budget about JPY 36,000 without a JR pass, or JPY 10,000 with a JR pass.
 
WHERE TO STAY
A central located business hotel in Kanazawa or stay over night in one of the Gassho-style houses in Shirakawa-go.
 
WHAT TO DO / WHERE TO GO
1. Explore Shirakawa-go
The village is small and easy to explore by foot, get quickly off the main road and explore the smaller cozy paths.
 
shirakawa go house shirakawa go new roof shirakawa go house garden shirakawa go garden
Gassho-style houses and their gardens in the Shirakawa-go village
 
The shirakawa-go village makes their own rice, so thei water ressources are of high importance. You'll find several photo hotspots for the perfect Shirakawa-gp photo througout the village. 
 
  shirakawa go water mill shirakawa go water channel shirakawa go rice field shirakawa go photo spot
Water resources are important in the Shirakawa-go village
 
2. Shirakawa-go overview photo
From the bus stop, follow the main road through the small village and hike up the hill to get magnificent views over the village.
 
shirakawa go view close up shirakawa go hill climb view shirakawa go view hill
View over Shirakawa-go
 
3. Kanazawa Kenrokuen Garden
The Kenrokuen Garden is one of the three most beautiful Japanese landscape gardens in Japan.
 
kenrokuen pond pink kenrokuen view kenrokuen water
Kanazawa Kenrokuen Garden
 
4. Kanazawa Castle
The Kanazawa Castle is pretty, but not near as great as the World Heritage Site: Himeji Castle or the Osaka Castle.
 
kanazawa castle
Kanazawa castle
 
5. Ninja Temple and 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art
The tour through the Ninja temple is only provided in Japanese, however, you'll be handed a small phamlet, which have a direct translation of what is being said. After the tour head to the 21st century museum of Contemporary art.
 
myouryuji ninja temple 21st century museum contemporary art pool
Myouryuji Temple (Ninja Temple) and 21st century museum of Contemporary art

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