A Traditional Experience
In Shirakawa-go or Gokayama – Ainokura besides the beautiful scenery, the unique Japanese thatched-roof farmhouses are the center of attraction. An overnight stay at one of these farmhouses is a highly recommended experience, as it is a great way to appreciate a traditional Japanese family home and get more intimate with gassho-zukuri buildings though. In the traditional style, guest rooms come with tatami mat floors and a low table. During the night, futon are spread out to sleep on. Baths and toilets are typically modern but shared. Guests should expect a simple stay without the facilities of Western style hotels.
In Shirakawa-go, there are approximately 180 thatched farmhouses, sheds, and barns, and most of them were built about 200-300 years ago. The most popular village for visitors is Ogimachi which in 1995 was declared World Cultural and Heritage Site. Although it is off the beaten track, Shirakawago is well worth the visit.
Ainokura there are about 20 Gassho-Zukuri in this village. The buildings are called “Gassho-Zukuri” or “hands-in-prayer”. Most of these houses were built between the end of the Edo Period and the end of the Meiji period but the oldest dates back to the 17th century. These unique buildings were used for the production of silk, once one of Japan’s major exports. In 1995 Ainokura was listed as a World Heritage Site, and it has attracted many visitors from all over the country. Tourists can visit the Ainokura Minzoku-kan (Ainokura Folklore Museum), a Gassho-Zukuri that has been converted into an exhibition of local folklore items.
The tours featured throughout our website are intended to give you ideas for what's possible when you travel with us. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created individually by one of our specialists to match your tastes and budget.
It was our first trip to Japan. Working with Jeff was a pleasure. His knowledge of the country and local contacts were very helpful. Choice...
Working with Jeff at Rediscover Tours was a wonderful experience. He helped me plan a 10 day trip of a lifetime to Japan with my mother...
I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank you for the marvelous vacation we recently enjoyed in Japan. The entire experience exceeded...
Years after years we have selected the best specialists about Japan. They have at least lived a minimum of 10 years in the country. They are here to answer all your questions and to make your tour just the way you want it.
Jeff was born in a south suburb of Chicago named South Holland and lived in Japan for 14 years. He now lives in Commerce Township, Michigan with his wife Yoshimi, son Shota, and daughter Mina. He enjoys playing with his kids, volunteering with his daughter’s marching band, cycling and training & teaching Aikido.
Michiyo was born in Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Prefecture though currently lives in Takarazuka, Hyogo Prefecture. Her main passions in life is traveling all around the world and enjoying their cultures.
Noriko was born in Nagoya. During her childhood she moved around Japan following her father’s office transfer. She especially liked her time in Shizuoka, facing Mt Fuji. She now lives in Minoo (in the suburb of Osaka). Noriko graduated from Hiroshima university. She’s been to Malaysia, Thailand and Europe (Germany and Bulgaria). Her hobbies are hiking, reading and surfing.
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