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Ogimachi Village

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Ogimachi is the largest village and main attraction of Shirakawa-go. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, the village is home to several dozen well preserved gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old.

The farmhouses are quite amazing structures, designed to withstand the harsh winters while providing a place to work and live, and are best seen either covered in snow or surrounded by green fields. Many of the farmhouses are now restaurants, museums or minshuku, where you can stay overnight.

A number of farmhouses from the surrounding villages have been relocated to an open air museum across the river from the town center in an effort to save them from destruction. This museum along with the large concentration of farmhouses and attractions in town and the area's accessibility make Ogimachi the best place in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama to see gassho-zukuri farmhouses.

Gassho-zukuri Minkaen
Hours: 8:40 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:00 December to March)
Admission ends 20 minutes before closing
Closed: Thursdays from December through March (or following day if Thursday is a holiday)
Admission: 500 yen

This open air museum lies across the river from the village center. It exhibits farmhouses and other structures relocated to Ogimachi in order to save them from destruction.

Shiroyama Viewpoint
The Shiroyama Viewpoint is north of the village center and offers nice views of Ogimachi and its farmhouses. The viewpoint can be accessed via a walking trail (closed during/after heavy snow) in about 15 to 20 minutes from the village center or by a shuttle bus, which stops in front of the tourist information office in the center of the village.

Wada-ke House
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: Irregular closing days
Admission: 300 yen

The Wada family was one of the wealthiest families and village leaders of Ogimachi. Their former home is the largest gassho-zukuri farmhouse in the town, and is now open to the public as a museum.

Kanda-ke House
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: Wednesdays from December to February
Admission: 300 yen

This picturesque house is one of the best preserved farmhouse turned museums in Ogimachi. Located in the center of town, you can get good views of the surrounding houses from the windows on its upper floors.

Nagase-ke House
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: Irregular closing days
Admission: 300 yen

The Nagase family were doctors for the Maeda lords in Ishikawa Prefecture before relocating to Ogimachi. Their farmhouse turned museum exhibits some medical tools and gifts from the Maeda family. The upper floors display many tools for farming and raising silkworms.

Myozenji Temple and House
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:00 December to March)
Closed: Irregular closing days
Admission: 300 yen (includes entry to both temple and house)

Myozenji Temple, which is unique for its thatched roof rather than the typical tiled roof seen on most temples, is connected to the Myozenji-ke farmhouse next door where the priest of the temple lives. The proprietor speaks English and is happy to introduce the buildings to visitors. Admission to the house includes admission to the temple hall.

Doburoku Festival Museum
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: December through March, October 13-16
Admission: 300 yen

This museum has displays on the Doburoku Festival held every year on October 14th and 15th. A feature of the festival is Doburoku Sake which is produced by the shrine and can be sampled at the museum.

Shirakawa-go no Yu
Hours: 7:00 to 21:30
Closing: No closing days
Admission: 700 yen

The Shirakawa-go no yu is a combined minshuku and bath house that offers hot spring bathing to the visitors of Ogimachi. A small discount is offered to guests staying overnight at one of the traditional farmhouses in the area.

Attractions outside Ogimachi

Toyama-ke House
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:00 December to March)
Closed: Wednesdays (Tuesday if Wednesday is a holiday), Dec 29 to Jan 3
Admission: 300 yen

Located about 15 minutes by car outside of Ogimachi, this old farmhouse now stands as a museum displaying typical period life. The farmland around the house continues to be worked by local farmers.

How to get there

Ogimachi is the transport hub of the Shirakawa-go region, where the bus lines from Takayama, Nagoya, Kanazawa and Takaoka meet. There are two main bus stops: "Shirakawa-go" bus stop outside the open air museum and "Ogimachi" bus stop north of the village center. Ogimachi is small and can be easily explored on foot.

information source: japan-guide.com

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