This beautiful village in japanese mountain, about 4-5 hours at north western from Tokyo is my main reason to visit Japan during winter time. The Gassho style houses of Shirakawa-Go makes this village look beautiful, its triangular shaped eaves resembling an open book propped up on its covers, is ideally adapted to the natural conditions in Shirakawa-Go, charachterized by great weights of snow deposited during heavy snowfalls. In December 1995, Shirakawa-Go was registered as the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the “Historic Villages of Shirakawa-Go and Gokayama”
To get here from Tokyo, you can take shinkansen from Tokyo to Nagoya then to Takayama or Gujo and take bus to go to the village. Or, from Tokyo to Toyama then continue to Kanazawa or Shin Takaoka and take bus from there. What i did last time, i took shinkansen to Nagoya then to Takayama. Stayed 2 nights in Takayama. I almost didn't get the online bus ticket to go to Shirakawa-Go from Takayama. The only way i did, i woke up very early and queueing in the bus ticket counter at Takayama Bus Terminal. It was weekend and already busy at the counter, and i got so lucky to get the only ticket available at 8.30 am to go to Shirakawa-Go because i was traveling by myself. And the return ticket was at 2.30 pm. I spent 4 hours in the village walking around. It's not a big village, everything can reached by walking distance. And just before my departure time to go back to Takayama, the snow fall gets heavier and make the village looks more beautiful.
I fall in love with this beautiful village. Everything looks beautiful covered by snow. I've met a girl who stay in the village for a few nights. She said the best view comes when it's getting dark, and she watched it on the top of the hill. She said that she could see the lights on from each houses, with the snow covering the houses, and the sky changing from blue to navy blue. She showed me the photo she took the day before, and yes, it looks very beautiful. Wish i could stay until evening to see it with my own eyes.
If you have a plan to visit this beautiful village during winter, make sure you book the bus ticket and hotel a month in advance because of high season. Bring umbrella and wear warm clothes because the weather can be change anytime during your visit. You can also hire a car from Tokyo and drive straight to Shirakawa-go, or even staying at the hotel in the village but they have limited rooms, so make sure to book in advance.