Japan’s image of winter is synonymous with Shirakawa-go . This beautiful village is unique in the form of high-roofed wooden houses that resemble praying hands which are called gassho style . Since 200 years ago it was made that way because of the amount of snow that fell in the village surrounded by mountains, so this uniqueness was included in the UNESCO Heritage Site.

I’ve visited Shirakawa-go twice in winter, the first time in 2010. Even though it’s getting busier now, the village still looks beautiful. When it snows heavily, the village looks like only triangular-shaped buildings, the rest is just white from the roof to the streets and trees. When the sun is shining, the snow on the thatched roof slowly slides down.

To see the interior of the gassho house and the life of the family who live, you can go to Kanda House, Wada House and Nagase House. Those who like museums can go to Myozenji Temple and Gasshozukuri Minkaen Outdoor Museum. If you want to see the whole village from a height, you just have to walk for about 20 minutes or take the shuttle bus from the bus terminal to the Observatory.

Shirakawa-go can be reached from the city of Nagoya or Osaka, but there are many other beautiful destinations in Central Japan that can be traveled at once. My advice, to save on transportation costs, just buy a Japan Rail Pass (JR Pass) of the “ Takayama-Hokuriku Tourist Pass ” type. The price is 14,260 Yen valid for 5 consecutive days and can take unlimited trains/buses from Nagoya, Shirakawa-go, Kanazawa, Fukui, Kyoto, to Osaka and Kansai Airport. It’s really worth it

So that you don’t have to worry about going anywhere other than Shirakawa-go, I recommend these unique destinations and activities that can be used as a reference for making the itinerary :


To enjoy the modern architecture of the city of Nagoya, just go to Oasis 21 which is connected to the Nagoya TV Tower. The shopping center building here is really unique, the roof is oval in shape made of glass and filled with water! We can go up to the roof to see the city from above, as well as see the ice skating rink below.

Instead, head to Nagoya Castle to enjoy its ancient architecture. Nagoya Castle owned by the Tokugawa Shogunate was built in 1610 and has been reconstructed many times. Its uniqueness is on the roof of the building where there is a mystical statue in the form of a tiger’s head with a fish body covered in gold so that it glitters from a distance. Don’t forget to take a walk in the surrounding park. In winter, plum blossoms ( ume ) bloom like cherry blossoms.



Takayama Old Town when it’s snowing feels like an old Japanese movie setting! Along the way there are traditional buildings made of black wood which were built during the Edo period (1600-1868). Although now it has become a commercial area in the form of shops, cafes, museums, and galleries, its originality is very well preserved. What Takayama is famous for is its sake which is sold in several shops. In winter , try hot sake !

A famous souvenir from Takayama is the Sarubobo or Japanese talisman doll. Don’t be afraid, this is a cute doll made of cloth. They believe that pink Sarubobo can launch a mate, black color to increase social status, yellow to increase finances, and so on. We can learn to make it in class for 30 minutes at the Hida Takayama Town Experience Center.

Hotel Recommendation: Associa Takayama Resort – This hotel surrounded by mountains has its own onsen with several outdoor pools , you can even rent a private onsen . His buffet dinner at Roriere Restaurant attended dozens of delicious types of food, especially the steaks .


I think everyone loves tulips. Although famous for coming from the Netherlands, in Japan the center is in the Tonami Tulip Gallery . The good news, they are open all year round including winter! In addition to displays of thousands of colorful tulips, here we can learn about the history of tulips and the research on interbreeding between tulips that took decades to create a new species.


In the center of Toyama city itself, there is Kansui Park which surrounds a beautiful canal and lake. Maybe it’s because of the view that there is a Starbucks that is predicted to be the most beautiful in the world. But for me, it’s beautiful at night when the fountain and decorative lights are lit in the middle of the lake.


The main destinations in Kanazawa are Kanazawa Castle (the castle of the Maeda Clan in 1580-1871 which was used as a university in 1945-1989) and especially Kenroku Garden which is located right next to it. The park is indeed very beautiful with a beautiful arrangement, calm water lake, and surrounded by old trees wrapped in ropes to protect it from the weight of the snow. To feel like in the imperial era, I attended the tea ceremony at Gyokusen’an Rest House . I was served matcha (green tea) and wagashi (sweet mochi) by women in kimono.


Those who like to go to traditional markets, must go to Omicho Market because this market sells a variety of seafood , especially crabs of various types, up to millions of rupiah each! You can eat fresh seafood at the restaurant in the market, my recommendation is Ichi No Kura Restaurant.

Kanazawa is famous for gold leaf which has been produced since the 16th century. Just visit the old town of Higashi Chaya District to shop for various handicrafts decorated with gold leaf, all-gold cosmetics, or eat gold-coated ice cream. I’ve tried it, it’s like eating tissue. Hehe! But if you want to buy souvenirs in the form of Kanazawa specialties, such as various mochi, you can buy them at Kanazawa Station.

Gold Leaf Ice Cream

Hotel Recommendation: he S quare Kanazawa – Really like the interior design of the rooms with wooden floors. The breakfast is one of the best in a Japanese hotel because it is made a la carte plus a variety of fresh leaf salads and extraordinarily delicious caramel pudding.


The most beautiful natural scenery in Fukui is in Tojinbo which has a 1 km long cliff by the beach with a height of 30 meters above sea level. Uniquely, some of the rock cliffs are pentagonal and hexagonal as a result of being crushed by sea water tens of millions of years ago. When the weather is clear, Tojinbo looks very beautiful against the background of the sea and blue sky.


But Fukui is so famous for its dinosaurs that the whole city is decorated with dinosaurs! Why is that? Because Fukui is the largest dinosaur graveyard in Japan! Yes, dinosaurs used to live here until there were 5 special species, including Fukuisaurus and Fukuiraptor. All the fossils, bones, and history can be seen in person at the Fukui Prefectural Dinosaur Museum . This museum is really cool because it displays various dinosaurs in their original size, they even look alive because they can move! Uniquely, the food at Dino Cafe is also in the form of dinosaurs, such as burger buns and cakes.

A unique activity in Fukui is learning to weave at the Yume Ole Katsuyama Textile Factory Memorial Hall . This place was once a former factory for making silk fabrics from caterpillar cocoons to cloth, but has been turned into a museum. We can learn to weave from yarn by using the tools provided. Not bad I finally managed to make coasters. Hehe!

Fukui also has an Old Town to explore, namely in Monzen Machi . It is called “Temple Town” because it is actually a place of pilgrimage centered on Eiheiji Temple. Here is not typical of old buildings, but rows of tall old trees along the river bank. The atmosphere is calm, peaceful, and when it snows it creates a magical impression.