Shirakawago is a UNESCO World Heritage site located in Gifu Prefecture. This place is a famous tourist destination in Japan especially during winter. I`ve already experienced Shirakawago during winter but I still wanted to visit the place again in a summer because of the beautiful photos I saw in a blog.
Since it was a holiday, specifically Silver Week, the commute took longer than usual. I didn`t really expect it. The bus left the station at around 9:45 am and was supposed to arrive at 12:45 pm. Instead, the bus arrived in Shirakawago at almost 2:00 pm. My bus schedule for going home was at 3:00 pm so I was really stressed out thinking how I`d be able to enjoy my trip to Shirakawago.
When I arrived in Shirakawago, I hurriedly went to a bus counter and inquired about the availability of other buses at 4:00 pm just in case I wouldn`t be able to make it at 3:00 pm. Fortunately, there were still available seats from Nohi bus. When I was talking to the woman in the counter, she mentioned that most of the buses had been coming and going late because of traffic problems. I assumed that my bus might also depart late so I didn’t buy a new ticket.
It took me almost two hours to walk around and take pictures in Shirakawago. If it`s your first time, maybe you can give yourself four hours. You`d be able to really tour inside some of the houses and go to Shiroyama Viewpoint to get a good view of the whole village. I was not able to go there because of my limited time. But in case you do, there`s a shuttle bus in the center of the village that goes there directly. There`s usually a line of people waiting for that bus. I went back to the bus station at 4 p.m. and I was glad the Meitetsu bus arrived just in time. When the bus driver checked the names of the passengers, I wasn`t on the list! It turned out that the 3 pm bus in which I had a reserved ticket for left on time. So the bus that newly arrived was for passengers who were scheduled at 4 pm. I sat on a bench and waited until everyone got in. After that, the two ladies who sat on a bench near me stood up and talked with the driver. They also got left behind like me. Fortunately for us, there were available seats at the back so the driver let us get in. The odds were in my favor! I didn`t have any seatmate on my rides back and forth.
Shirakawago during the summer is filled with green rice fields and different varieties of flowers. It`s a lovely village worth visiting when you are in Japan. However, it isn’t really popular for first-time tourists who opt for Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka If you want to see the other side of Japan, plan a trip to Shirakawago. It`s very accessible especially if you`re just in Nagoya area. But please do check the best dates to travel or see what the place looks like at the moment before hopping on a bus.
Tips for Travelers:
If you`re planning to go to Shirakawago during a big holiday like Golden Week or Silver Week, expect that there`s traffic congestion. If you are on a tight schedule and would want only a day trip, please book in advance, maybe two or three weeks ahead. Or better yet, ride a train until you reach Takayama. From there, you can buy a bus ticket going to Shirakawago. In normal days, the buses arrive on time
How To Go There:
Go to Meitetsu Bus Center just somewhere at the back of Nagoya Station. You can buy a ticket to Shirakawago (an estimate of 7000 yen round trip) on the third floor. Just ask the person behind the counter for the different time schedule. It`s best to buy a round trip ticket.
You can also ride a train going to Takayama. Then from Takayama bus staion, you can buy a ticket going to Shirakawago. This was what I did the first time I went to Shirakawago. I rode a train going to Takayama and stayed there overnight because I still wanted to explore Takayama. On the next day, I bought a bus ticket going to Shirakawago. The bus may stop at different places but just remember that Shirakawago is the last stop and it`s where almost all the passengers get off