Shirakawa-go is one of Japan’s UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It’s one of the most popular things to see for people visiting the Takayama area.
The village is known for the traditional thatch roofed houses that exist in the area.
They get their shape in order to withstand the heavy weight of snow that accumulates in the area.
To get to Shirakawago – just walk to the Takayama train station from the Zenkoji Hostel Temple and catch a 50 minute bus ride next door. The cost is about 4,300 yen round trip as of this writing (please check pricing and schedules at the bus station) 2 to 3 hours should be enough time to take in the sites and grab a bite to eat.
If you have an extra morning or half day in Takayama, it’s well worth taking the time to visit the site.
If deciding between Hida No Sato or Shirakawago, I’d recommend making the trip to Shirakawago if time permits.
You will be dropped off at a a bus waiting area with gift and food shops.
There is a paid entrance to an outdoor museum with a number of preserved thatched roof houses. You can enter some of the houses and view various exhibits.
If you cross the bridge over the river, there is a free section of thatched houses mixed in with farmland and shops.
You can also catch a trolley that takes visitors to the top of an overlook to get scenic Shirakawago pictures from above.