Spend the Night in Old Japan
Shirakawa-go and Ainokura are remote villages surrounded by beautiful scenery but what makes them famous are the unique Japanese steep thatched-roof farmhouses. Many of these gassho-zukuri (hands-in-prayer shaped) buildings have been converted into inns for travelers to enjoy.
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. In the traditional style, guest rooms come with tatami mat floors and a low table. At night, the low tables are moved to the side and futon bedding is set out for a comfortable night’s rest. Baths and toilets are typically modern but shared as adding plumbing to the entire house would destroy the traditional atmosphere. 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 area for visitors is Ogimachi which was declared a UNESCO World Cultural and Heritage Site in 1995. Although it is off the beaten track, Shirakawa-go is well worth the visit.
In Ainokura there are about 20 gassho-zukuri buildings. Most 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 UNESCO World Heritage Site, and it has attracted many visitors from all over the world. Tourists can visit the Ainokura Minzoku-kan (Ainokura Folklore Museum), a gassho-zukuri building that has been converted into an exhibition of local folklore items.
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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...
Our team of Japan experts have all lived in Japan for years and know its the hidden treasures. Our team is here to answer all your questions and to build 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 and 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.
Izumi has spent most of her life in the Kansai region, except for the 10 years that she enjoyed in the UK. Living abroad has made her appreciate her own culture and local beauty even more. She currently lives in Osaka with her family, including two cats and two dogs.
Great trips don't just happen; it takes expert knowledge and years of experience to create a truly memorable holiday. You can rely on Rediscover Tours to make your perfect Japanese experience. Our dedication to excellence makes the difference.
Your Japan travel expert will create your trip just for you
Your interests and travel style will be front and center when designing your tour
Accommodations will be selected based on your style and we will inform them of all your special meal and physical requirements
Your Japan expert has lived in Japan or is Japanese
They know the hidden treasures of Japan that you will love and most tourists miss
Most of our team lives in Japan giving them first hand knowledge of the latest trends and experiences for you to enjoy
Private local guides add a whole new depth to your Japanese tour
We only hire the best guides and review each trip with them insuring excellent experience
Your private guide will listen to you, show you sights of interest and will make on the fly changes to match the weather and crowds
Our office in Japan is here to assist and support you
Rediscover Tours has been organizing travel to Japan since 2000
You will arrive comfortable in the knowledge that all details are taken care of and that our Japan office is just a call away