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Situated at the south-west part of Toyama, Gokayama is a beautiful region where we can still see a quiet old town dating back to more than 200 years ago. In fact, you can see Gassho-style houses (traditional style Japanese houses with a steep, thatched roof) in two villages: Suganuma and Ainokura. Since the view is so beautiful, along with Shirakawa-go, situated in the next prefecture over the mountain, "Villages of Gassho-style houses in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama" have been chosen as a World Heritage in 1995. Furthermore, the area around Gokayama is known for snow. Therefore, you can enjoy the villages covered in snow in winter.
- 754 Kaminashi, Nanto-shi, Toyama
- Contact No.
- Ainokura village: 23-min bus ride on Kaetsuno bus from JR Johana Station on Johana Line. Get off at Ainokura-guchi stop. Approx. 10-min walk. Suganuma village: 38-min bus ride on Kaetsuno bus from JR Johana Station on Johana Line. Get off at Suganuma stop. Approx. 3-min walk.
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- Gokayama General Tourist Information Center: 9:00-17:00 (opens 10:00-15:00 during New Year Holiday between Dec 28-Jan 5)
Ainokura village: Open all year round; Suganuma village: closed on Jan 1
Nitre Museum, Gokayama Folk Museum: 9:00-16:00 (Closed during New Year Holiday)
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 2.5 hours
- Admission fee
- Entrance fee for Nitre Museum (Same ticket with Gokayama Folk Museum): Adults 350 yen, High school student 150 yen, Iwase-ke (National important cultural property): Adults 300 yen, Elementary and Junior high school student 150 yen
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Suganuma Gassho-style village
In Suganuma village, there are nine Gassho-style houses and storehouses made of mud and plates. Since people used to be sent into exile to this place during the Edo period, it is isolated from other villages. Even now it still looks unexplored. From Suganuma Observatory Park, you can look over the village.
Ainokura Gassho-style village
Ainokura village is the biggest village in Gokayama area with 23 Gassho-style houses. In addition to seeing Gassho-style buildings and houses built from the 17th century to the 19th century, you can also try traditional crafts or making washi, or Japanese paper, in museums. You can also see the inside of Gassho-style houses.
Situated in Suganuma area, Iwase-ke is the biggest house in Gokayama. It is also recognized as Japan's national important cultural property. The owner of this house had an important role to manage salt in the Edo period. You can see how gorgeous the house is from the 30 cm large central pillar made from a zelkova tree.
Learn the history of Gokayama at the Museum
Inside the Gassho-style village, you can see how salt has been produced during the Edo period at Nitre Museum. In addition, a Gassho-style house has turned into a museum, where you can see approx. 300 pieces of everyday items from which you can see how people lived in Gokayama.
Snowing area: Gokayama's winter view
In winter, it snows a lot in Gokayama. It can reach 2-3 m deep. During the day, you can enjoy beautiful Gassho-style houses with snow shining against the sunlight. On the other hand, the houses looks mysterious with snow at night.
At Ainokura village, illumination takes place in March, May, July, September and November. In spring, you can see "Upside-down Gassho-style houses" that are reflected on paddy fields. In winter, you can see illumination in snow. Each season has its charming night view.
Enjoy the rich and tasty specialty of Gokayama: Tofu
Tofu has been consumed from a long time ago in Japan. In Gokayama, over the generations, the method of creating hard tofu that contains less water and has rich taste of soybeans, have been passed down. In fact, it is so hard that it stays intact even if you tie it with a rope! At Gokayama Tofu Ryori Jippensha, situated between Suganuma village and Ainokura village, you can taste tofu sashimi.