Day 13 – Takayama – 1 July 2019 – visiting Shirakawa-go by bus and eating delicious curry

From morning to afternoon, we had journeyed on a well organised guided Shirakawa-go and Ainokura Bus Tour with Nohi Bus from Takayama Station. It was really simple to book via the Nohi Bus website and really easy to find both the bus station.

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Shirakawa-go is home to the old gassho-style houses with the prayer looking roofs. We were told by our guides that the roofs were designed to help during summers and winters. Summers were often extremely hot and needed to air to travel through the home, while in winter the heavy snow fall would cover each property and these roofs would serve as insulators of heat.

Gassho-style house at Ainokura © 2020 Gary Chau

Ainokura had only a handful of gassho-style houses, while Shirakawa-go had plenty of gassho-style houses. I recommend getting a Shirakawa-go photo from the lunch area before traveling down, because it’s your only chance to get a whole photo of the village.

The rice paddy fields at Ainokura © 2020 Gary Chau

The villages were great for walking and taking pictures. Some of the buildings hosted museums, some free, some for a fee. The buildings were well preserved.

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The Nohi Bus Tour also provided lunch. While there wasn’t any Hida Beef included in the set lunch, it was a hearty meal for someone like me who is 65 kgs. Outside the lunch area is a view of Shirakawa-go.

Our lunch set with the Nohi Bus Tour before venturing into Shirakawa-go © 2020 Gary Chau

Normally in the afternoon, the view is crowded so its difficult to get a photo if you just want to take a selfie without anyone else in the photo. We had lots of lovely people happily take photos of us.

View of Shirakawa-go from up high © 2020 Gary Chau

Shirakawa-go is large and it’s best to take the map the guide provides. The guide will also tell you which houses you should visit, particularly the ones that have entry fees. The entry fees vary between 200 to 500 yen. The ones with entry fees tend to have more interesting displays. We visited a house that served unlimited green tea. It also had several seating areas for visitors to experience. We managed to enjoy the breeze flowing through the house.

A pond with lilies and flowers at Shirakawa-go © 2020 Gary Chau

From the photo below, you can see where the tea is set up. Also, there is a fireplace.

Inside one of the houses at Shirakawa-go © 2020 Gary Chau

We managed to climb some of the houses. Some of these houses had several floors. Sometimes even four stories!

View from atop one of the gassho-style houses at Shirakawa-go © 2020 Gary Chau

There is also a Gassho Zukuri Folklore Park outside the main village. Entry is free if you are part of the Nohi Bus Tour. They also serve tea for visitors. There are activities you can partake in this park. Otherwise, it is a picturesque park with a simmering river flowing down the middle of the park.

Gassho-style houses at Shirakawa-go © 2020 Gary Chau

For dinner, we visited the Jakson Curry & Coffee. It is a popular curry joint in Takayama. It probably serves the best tasting Japanese curry in Japan! We were so delighted that we picked this place.

Outside Jakson Curry & Coffee © 2020 Gary Chau

The curry was delicious. The spices, the tenderness of the meat and vegetables, and the fresh side salad were all fantastic. We loved it.

Butaniku and curry at Jakson Curry & Coffee © 2020 Gary Chau

We had the pork and chicken karaage curries. I highly recommend their curries. I don’t think you can go wrong if you pick any meat with your curry.

Tori karaage and curry at Jakson Curry & Coffee © 2020 Gary Chau

Next time on Day 14 – Takayama to Kanazawa – 2 July 2019 – visiting the Ninja Temple, dressed in kimono at Kenrokuen and Omicho Market.

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© 2019-2020 Gary Chau

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