Road trip to Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go is a village located in Gifu Prefecture and is one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.
The houses in the village are made in a gassho-zukuri style. 
The first few months when we moved in Japan I made a list on my phone of places where we plan to visit. Shirakawa-go was one of them. 
But, after 2 years of Covid restrictions across the country, finally last month we got to plan 3 days road trip to this magnificent place.

Pre-road trip preparations
From our city (Ashiya) to Shirakawa-go is a straight 5 hours trip. Since we were traveling with our 3 year old daughter  we didn’t really wanted her to be stuck in a car for 5 hours, so we booked a hotel somewhere in the middle of the road trip.
I booked us 2 nights in hotel Fairfield by Marriott in Mino Gifu – the hotel looked pretty decent on the pictures and it was not too expensive. 
The plan was:

11:30 Have early lunch at home
12:00 Drop Yoshi to the pet sitter
12:15 Head the road
15:30 Check in at the hotel and spend the rest of the afternoon there

07:00 Have breakfast
08:00 Drive to Shirakawa-go for 2 hours
Spend the rest of the day around the village

08:00 Have breakfast and spend few hours by the river next to the hotel
11:30 Check out from the hotel
12:00 Have lunch
12:30 Head back home

Thankfully, everything went by the plan. The first day when we reached the hotel it was raining a bit – so we could not really explore the area around. The only time we went outside of the hotel was around 17:30 for dinner in a local indian restaurant – the food was AMAZING! If you ever happen to be around Mino, Gifu area make sure to check out Prasiddha Indian resturant.

Unfortunately, when we woke up the second day it was still raining! I was so disappointed, I waited for so long to visit this magnificent place and it was raining. But we were so determined to go, we packed our raincoats, had breakfast and left the hotel around 08:30am. 

From the hotel to Shirakawa-go by car was around 1 hour 40 minutes. By the time we reached the village it was constantly raining. But, luckily it stopped as soon as we parked the car. At this time there was not many people, it was cold and gloomy so I think that was the reason not many people were there – lucky us! 

If you ever researched or read about Shirakawa-go you must already know that this village is very picturistic. Beautiful charming houses with traditional Japanese decor,  peaceful gardens, quiet streets, charming little souvenir shops… heaven for any photographer.
As soon as we entered the village we gasped, it was same as on the pictures I have seen before. My daughter immediately fell in love with the little houses, she even asked if we can live in a house like that!

While we were traveling this morning in the car we decided that we will not have a classic sit down lunch, but as we walk around the village we will try their authentic street food. We’ve tried the rice cake with walnuts and the soy mochi for lunch. To be honest I found the soy mochi much more delicious than the rice cake. I definitely recommend trying the mochi if you are visiting Shirakawa-go, we ate about 8 of them in total :).

It took us about 2 hours to walk around the whole village. We made sure we stopped everywhere we wanted and took our time to admire the beauty of the village. 
For those visiting the village with kids, do not worry there are small park with few swings and slide around the center of the village. There are also clean public toilets and rest areas for families.

The next day our check out time was 11:00am. Since we woke up pretty early, we decided to have breakfast by the river behind the hotel, let our daughter play a bit and ride her scooter and then have lunch in the hotel community dining room and then head back home.

Don’t forget to check out my vlog about our road-trip to Shirakawa-go on my youtube channel.