Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama

Kelsey Ang

Sep 30, 2017

UNESCO World Heritage Site with traditional thatched roof houses.

Shirakawa-go is situated at the foot of Mt. Haku-san in northwestern Gifu Prefecture. It is a quiet mountain village with rice fields and a river running through it. 114 thatched roof stand together in the village, which was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Near the village, Gassho-zukuri Minka-en outdoor museum is made up of 27 thatched roof houses that have been relocated from various areas in Shirakawa-go. A temple, a coalhouse, and a horse paddock have been built, preserving the old scenery. There are live performances of traditional industrial arts like dyeing and weaving, and visitors can even try making these crafts themselves. At the "Soba Dojo," guests can experience making Japanese soba noodles.

The Doburoku Festival is held in the village every autumn. “Doburoku” is a type of white, unrefined sake and it is served to visitors during the festival period. The Doburoku Matsuri Hall is located at Shirakawa Hachiman Shrine. Here, visitors can learn about “Shishi-mai,” which is a type of lion dance. The Shiroyama observation deck is the best spot to obtain a panoramic view of the village.

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