First time in Japan, never thought of visiting this place anytime soon when 2018 started but yeah, I had the chance to visit this wonderful country this December. Whenever I hear the word “Japan”, I always thought of Tokyo, Sapporo, Osaka but not Nagoya. After exploring Nagoya for 4 days, this place got me falling in love and it is by far my favorite. Let me share with you our 4 day journey in Central Japan.
Day 1: Exploring Takayama and Shirakawa Go (via Klook)
We booked a whole day tour to Takayama and Shirakawa-Go via Klook (cost Php 3,861). Meet-up place is at the 4F of Meitetsu Bus Center in Meieki District. Bus leaves at exactly 8am.
First stop is Takayama Old Town (aka “Little Kyoto of Hida Region”). This old town is located in the mountainous Hida region. Time travel to the Edo period (1600-1860) as you will find here beautifully preserved old houses which owners turned to shops of different kinds. If you’re bound for Takayama or even just passing through, you MUST try their famous famous Hida beef which melts in your mouth!
Just a few steps from Sannomachi street is the quaint Nakabashi bridge (the red railed bridge) overlooking the Miyagawa river.
The former government headquarters of Takayama.
About two hours away from Takayama is Shirakawa-Go village which is recognized as a UNESCO world heritage cultural site situated in the mountains of Gifu prefecture. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to see the village covered in snow but nevertheless, this place is truly captivating. Tip: Best time to visit Shirakawa-go is (2nd-3rd week of) December – February to witness the village covered in snow.
Their Gassho-style houses (prayer hands construction style) allows the structure to withstand heavy snowfall especially during winter. These houses were built by the villagers using a cooperative system of re-roofing called “Yui” which resembles “Bayanihan” in the Philippines.
If you want to see the entire village, go to the observatory which is a 20-min. walk from Wada house.
Shiroyama Tenshukaku Tenbodai (observatory)
Constructed in the year 1800, the Wada house is the biggest gassho-style house in Shirakawa-go. Inside, you will see well preserved artifacts of the family. Entrance fee: Adults ¥300 / Children ¥150 (http://ml.shirakawa-go.org/en/guide/32/)
Overall, if you’re visiting central Japan, Shirakawa-go and Takayama should be part of your itinerary especially if you plan to go during winter season.