Although modern roads now make the traditional area of Shirakawago accessible in under an hour from the nearby city of Takayama, for many centuries the surrounding mountains and heavy winter snowfalls made the district nearly unreachable. Cut off from the rest of the country, the villagers at Shirakawago continued their traditional lifestyle until very recently, raising silkworms under the steeply thatched roofs of their gasshozukuri houses amidst rice fields and vegetable patches.

The villages of Gokayama and Ogimachi, the two best preserved in the Shirakwago area, still remain much as they once were, and many of the thatched houses have been converted into museums which preserve the rich cultural heritage of the area. Others welcome staying guests, and Into Japan Specialist Tours would be delighted to include a night or two in the simple, old-timey world of Shirakawago as part of your tailor made tour to Japan.