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Shirakawago Gassho Zukuri Minkaen
Open today: 8:40 am - 4:40 pm
Private 2Days Takayama & Shirakawago Tour
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1 - 6 of 421 reviews
Reviewed 6 November 2023

In late September 2023, before entering the village, I paid a visit to the open-air museum (Gassho-zukuri Minka-en) adjacent to the car park, where 25 Gassho-style houses have been relocated and are displayed, thinking it best to obtain some prior knowledge. This turned out to be a very good idea. I learned a lot. Gassho-style houses were built in the Shirakawa-go and Gokayama area from the middle of the Edo era (17th century) to around 1930. There were about 300 in the early 20th century, but the number had dwindled to 190 by 1960. One reason was due to some villages being submerged under the Miboro dam built on upstream Shogawa River for hydroelectric power generation completed in 1961. Another reason was the depopulation following the rapid post-war development. The villages with Gassho-style houses had been maintained building on the tradition of the villagers’ close relationship with each other, but this became no longer sustainable as many left the village. There was an informative display of articles and videos introducing the last villagers leaving and abandoning the Etchuu Katsura village in the 1960s. I also refreshed my memory that the villagers produced gunpowder in this region, one reason that some people were quite rich. I did not know that one ingredient rich of nitrogen was silkworm droppings, a bi-product of silkworm breeding. Another feature that intrigued me was how closely some of the modest housing displayed resembles a Jomon-style dwelling. This turned out to be not so wild an observation, as I later found an article of the open-air museum that told that people lived here from the neo-lithic Jomon era, and many features of the local tradition such as how to soak nuts in water to reduce the bitterness, lacquerware, woodwork, etc. appeared to have originated from the Jomon people. I spent about an hour to visit all of the displayed buildings. An English translation is provided for all displays. It certainly is worth visiting before entering the village.

Date of experience: September 2023
Thank tomizuta1953
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 17 September 2023

So, this is pretty much a drive by, snap a few photos and move on kind of place. The house open for tours seemed to be a good example of what USED to be, but they no longer have any silk worms or production, and haven't for years.

Due to the layout of these 2 and 3 story homes, it's impossible to tour without waiting for others to go up and down the steep wooden ladders. And what you see when you get to the next floor is some pieces of wooden frames, tables, etc -- but no real explanation of how the silk worms were raised.

Disappointing. Seems to be more of a tourist trap at this point. Could probably have done better with a good book about the area.

Date of experience: August 2023
Thank Luv2TravelFarNWide
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 25 July 2023

This open-air museum is definitely worth the visit, as some of the buildings you can go inside and experience it as it was meant to be, I love the logistical layout of these buildings as it seems that there was a lot of thought went into the design to maximise the temperature and space utilization.

Date of experience: February 2023
Thank Shinboner_18
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 12 February 2020 via mobile

Visited Shirakawa-go during the wintee illumination night last Jan 26. Unfortunately, there was no snow. Lots of tourists during that time. The place was still nice, but I think it will be more attractive if there was snow.

Date of experience: January 2020
Thank Travelgirl1909
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 12 January 2020

We came to Shirakawa-Go on January 4 but there was little snow. We came as part of a Day Tour with Yokoso Japan and was given 2 hours of free time. During our time there, we did go into the Open Air Museum for 600 yen. Most of the houses will allow you to go inside for a visit. However, I think the outside of the homes is more interesting.

Date of experience: January 2020
Thank PandaHouston
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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