The hamlets of Shirakawa-go, located in the pine tree covered mountains of the Hakusan National Park along the picturesque Shokawa river, is widely-known as one of the most scenic places in Japan. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, the town is famous for its traditional “gassho-zukuri” farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. There are around 180 thatched farmhouses, sheds, and barns. The residents of Shirakawago still live in several small villages. The most popular village for visitors is Ogimachi. Although it is off the beaten track and time consuming to get there, Shirakawago is well worth the effort.
Most visitors bus in and out of Shirakawa-go for the day. However the best way to really experience the town is to spend the night in one of the farmhouses which are now run as “Minshuku” by local families. The accommodation is quite basic, with shared bathroom facilities but there are not many guests and the great food, cooked over a traditional hearth (irori), really lets you savour the unique atmosphere of the place.