|Centrip Editorial Board

Trivia for Shirakawa-go sightseeing: Centrip Japan's Complete Guide to Shirakawa-go

Useful Information

Internet Environment/Wi-Fi

Shirakawa-go is a remote village and it's had spotty mobile coverage until recently, but the situation has improved. Tourist areas such as Gassho-zukuri village, the World Heritage Site, the Hagicho area with its beautiful scenery, and Hirase Onsen (Hotspring) area, a free public LAN and Wi-Fi are available. Choose SSID "Shirakawa-go Free Wi-Fi" and wait for the browser to start. Tap "Connect to the Internet" and agree to the terms and conditions. You can use it for 3 hours free of charge. The service is available in six languages (Japanese, English, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Korean, and Thai).

Money Exchange

Even though Shirakawa-go is very popular as a sightseeing spot, it is located in a remote area in the mountain. Some shops and restaurants do not accept credit cards and often times they only accept Japanese yen. We'd appreciate it if you take this into your consideration. To exchange your currency to Japanese yen, go to the Shirakawa-go bus terminal. There is an easy-to-use automatic currency exchange machine.

Shopping

There are plenty of souvenir shops and restaurants for the tourists, but there is only one convenience store and one supermarket, both of which are closed at night. In certain areas, there are no stores available within walking distance. If you are staying at inns or hotels, check whether you can find any stores around, and if not, buy whatever you need in advance. Make sure to open your items after purchase.

Clothing

From spring to summer, the temperature is the same as lower altitudes during the day, but in the mornings and the evenings, the temperature can dip quite low. Also, in autumn, it gets colder than you might imagine. A down jacket is recommended in winter, as well as snow boots. If you are coming from a warmer climate, be mindful of catching a cold due to the change in temperature.

Baggage

During the snow season, many tourists have trouble walking in the snow with large bags. A backpack is recommended for traversing Shirakawa-go.

Tours

Buses are available from Nagoya, Takayama, Toyama, and Kanazawa to Shirakawa-go, so getting there on your own is certainly an option, but there are half-day tours for the foreign visitors with a local guide in Takayama and Shirakawa-go. Tours to and from Nagoya, Tokyo, and Osaka are also available. If you want to learn about the local culture and the Gassho-zukuri houses as well as enjoying beautiful landscapes, tours are recommended.

Reminder

Manners When Taking Pictures

Shirakawa-go is a village where people actually live. Tourist vehicles are not allowed to enter the village, but it doesn't mean that the place is car-free. The local residents drive their cars, so be careful when you take selfies near the road. People still live in the Gassho-zukuri houses so please do not trespass into their gardens or fields for your photos. Using drones for photos or videos is prohibited. Seriously. There's a rule about this. And please, do not take pictures of the local children.

Smoking

Thatched roofs are flammable, so no smoking except in the designated smoking area.

Toilet

Please use the toilet.

Trash Disposal

There are no garbage cans, so take your trash home. The store where you bought your items might also take care of the trash of your purchased items.

Insects and Plants

Especially during autumn, you will see many insects because Shirakawa-go is rich in nature. Please get used to the circumstances. It is proof that you are surrounded by nature. Picking local plants is prohibited.

At Night

There are no street lights. The only lights available are the ones coming from windows or the stars in the sky. Be sure to carry a flashlight with you when going out at night. Gassho-zukuri houses are flammable, so fireworks are not allowed.

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