Welcome to Shirakawa-gō & Gokayama
Most of Shirakawa-gō's sights are in Ogimachi, which has more tour buses than thatch-roofed houses. The less crowded, more isolated villages of Suganuma and Ainokura, in the Gokayama district of Toyama Prefecture, have the most ambience; other sights are spread over many kilometres along Rte 156. All three villages are Unesco World Heritage Sites.
Passionate debate continues around the impact tour buses have upon these unique communities, and how best to mitigate disruption to local life. To avoid the crowds, steer clear of weekends, holidays, and cherry-blossom and autumn-foliage seasons.