After visiting the Jigokudani snow monkeys we left Yudanaka Seifu-so Hotel early in the morning for the three and a half hour drive to Shirakawa-go.
It was bright and sunny around the Nagano when we left but midway near Toyama the first signs of winter snow began falling. Light at first but got increasingly heavier as we approach Shirakawa.
Shirakawa-go is a quaint village famous for its centuries old gassho-zukuri farmhouses. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. The farmhouses have steep A-shaped thatched roofs that resemble the hands of Buddhist monks in prayer.
Here’s a map of the Shirakawa-go village.
When we arrived at Ogimachi Village in the center of Shirakawa, the snow got really heavy. The village was teeming with tourists in spite of the weather. After a hot bowl of ramen for lunch we visited the Wada House. Built by the wealthy Wada family 300 years ago it is now open to the public as a museum. It showcases the ingenious construction of the gassho houses made to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms.
We could not track to the Shiroyama viewpoint due to the heavy snowfall. The thick snow on the thatched roofs of Shirakawa’s farmhouses would have made a perfect Kodak moment.
After an hour or so walking around the village we made our way to Pension Hida no Mori where we stayed for the night.
Read about our other driving holidays in Japan:
Matsumoto Castle (Dec 2015)
3-Days in Kyoto (Dec 2015)
Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park (Dec 2015)
9-Day Driving Trip to Ise-Shima, Shingu, Nara, and Kyoto (Dec 2016)