On our 14-day trip through Japan we wanted to include at least one day to visit Shirakawa-go and Takayama. Shirakawa is a town located in the Japanese Alps that is characterized by its wooden houses and thatched roofs. Its environment is unique, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Next to the houses, the countrymen have their rice fields and gardens with flowers.
In addition, the surrounding landscape is composed of forests, snowy mountains and a beautiful river. We went in June and there was still snow! Here we tell you how we organized our trip to Shirakawa-go with gastronomic stop and stay in Takayama.
How to get to Shirakawa-go and Takayama
First of all, we decided to sleep in Takayama the night before, since we were coming from Osaka (about 4 hours by train). Then you must add to that the journey to Shirakawa-go which can only be done by bus and lasts one hour. At the same time, due to all the visits that the town receives, it is advisable to book the bus in advance at the same station. The round trip price is about € 76 per person. We also recommend that you reserve the seats or choose the transfers that allow your seat reservation, the rest is subject to availability.
Things to see and do in Shirakawa-go
Secondly, you should know that you can visit Shirakawa-go perfectly in 3 hours. Climb to the viewpoint, walk around its village, visit at least one of its old houses (museum) and even get your feet wet in the river. There are several houses converted into museums, as well as other museums and coffee shops. We believe that visiting a house is enough to get an idea of its architecture.
The river and its surroundings are also beautiful. There is a paid bus to go up to the viewpoint with views of the whole village, but it’s only 15 minutes on foot. We assume that its use is recommended when there may be frost or snow. However, if the weather is good and you have no mobility problems, you can do it on foot without any problem.
Things to do in Takayama
As we said, the day before we stayed in Takayama. The paradise of the meat of Hida. That is why it was worth it to reach Takayama. We recommend you the Maruaki restaurant. It is a bit touristy and expensive, but VERY RECOMMENDED. We ordered the Sukiyaki of Hida which was spectacular.
In addition, the meail it is entertaining because you have a kind of pan in the middle to cook the Sukiyaki yourself. We paid about € 30 per person, but you can’t leave Takayama without trying that dish, we highly recommend you to order it with udon! Remembering it makes us want to catch a plane just for that hahaha.
Similarly, Takayama is famous for being one of the villages that produces the best sake in Japan. There are several factories converted into stores where you can do a sake tasting. We tried up to 11 types of sake and the tasting price included the shot glass as a souvenir.
Hotels in Takayama
In Takayama we stayed at the WAT Hotel & Spa Hida Takayama. It was the best hotel of our entire itinerary through Japan without a doubt. The totally new rooms, a few meters from the train and bus station. In addition, it has its own onsen included in the price of the room. Some of them are private.
It also has washers and dryers and free ice cream! Yes, what you read. Next to the Onsen there is a freezer with fruit ice creams. Breakfast was buffet style, but nothing special. There is nothing like a Spanish breakfast!
In Shirakawa-go there are also places to stay, although they are very few. Therefore the price is very high. You can check here Shirakawa-go hotels. Or rather Guest Houses.
We hope this post has been helpful for you. Do not forget to book your travel insurance to Japan and remember that, as you are our reader, you will have a 5% discount on all IATI policies. You just have to book by clicking on the following photo. Enjoy it!