Although Japan doesn't really celebrate December 25 as Christmas Day, being a non-Christian nation, it has its own version of "Christmas village" under the snow-capped mountains of Gifu Prefecture.
The village is famous for its "gassho-zukuri" traditional farmhouses, which makes it resemble a snow globe when the snow blankets the whole place. Gassho-zukuri literally means "constructed like hands in prayer" as the houses' thatched roof resemble the clasped hands of a praying Buddhist Monk.The architectural design of the houses wasn't designed for nothing,it was the best style to withstand large volume of snow.
Shirakawa-go is designated as UNESCO World Heritage Site on 1995. The houses are also sentimental, for some of them are built 250 years ago.
Some of the houses functions and offer guest accommodation. Make sure you discover what's inside those fairy tale-like homes! More so, don't skip "Wada House", the oldest among all edifice.
From Tokyo, the easiest route is by Shinkansen and bus via Toyama. Take Hokuriku Shinkansen to Toyoma and ride a bus to Shirakawa-go.
Alternate Route: Tokyo to Shin-Takaoka to Shirakawa-go Take Hokuriku Shinkansen and alight to Shin-Takaoka Station. Then, transfer to Kaetsuno bus for Shirakawa-go.
Shirakawa-go is a "place for all seasons". But the best time to visit is during Spring, where the cherry trees are in full bloom, in the autumn where the golden rice paddies blend with the autumn foliage in the background, and especially during winter as the whole dreamy place turn to a giant snow globe. Remember to book early if you consider exploring the interior of the houses.
Here at Pop Japan, we pride ourselves on being one of the most passionate promoters of our nation. It is our strong belief that Japan has the ability to offer anyone a very fulfilling life.