Gokayama World Heritage Site
Explore the Little Mountain Villages of Gassho-style Houses

Nagano

Gifu

Ishikawa

Toyama

Toyama City

Takaoka

Gokayama

Shirakawago

Takayama

Gokayama is here!

Gokayama is a nature-rich area in the southwesternmost region of Toyama. Despite being surrounded by mountains, it is easy to get to from various locations. There are various seasonal services throughout the year to make it even easier to visit Gokayama, such as a direct bus in winter that takes you from JR Takaoka Station to Gokayama in around one hour.

History of Gokayama

In the Edo Period (1603-1867), the people of Gokayama played a major role in the Kaga Domain as its biggest producer of nitre, an ingredient for explosives. As a result, the region received thorough protection from the rulers of the domain, prospering so greatly that the area was filled with rows of large gassho-style farmhouses. These houses were passed on to the descendants of their owners, who have taken good care of them to this day.

What Are Gassho-style Houses?

Gassho is a building style unique to the Gokayama area, designed to withstand its heavy snow. A distinctive characteristic of gassho-style farmhouses is their steep thatched roofs, said to have been designed to make it easy for snow to slide off. “Gassho” is Japanese for pressing one’s hands together in prayer, which the shape of the roof resembles.

About Gokayama Folk Songs

Gokayama is known for its rich heritage of folk songs that remain to this day. Its two most famous folk songs, Kokiriko and Mugiya-bushi, are designated as Intangible Cultural Properties of Japan. Many others are still alive today, including Gokayama Oibun-bushi and Toichinsa, and their heartfelt melodies still stir the emotions of visitors today.

Main Transport to Gokayama and (Approximate) Travel Times

From Tokyo

JR Hokuriku Shinkansen
(approx. 2 hour 8 minutes)

Toyama Station

Approx. 9 minutes on the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen

Shin-Takaoka Station

Approx. 1 hour 3 minutes by World Heritage Bus

AinokuraAlight here for the Ainokura Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses

Approx. 15 minutes by World Heritage Bus

SuganumaAlight here for the Suganuma Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses

From Osaka

JR Hokuriku Main Line
(approx. 2 hours 40 minutes: Thunderbird limited express)

Kanazawa Station

Approx. 14 minutes on the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen

Shin-Takaoka Station

Approx. 1 hour 3 minutes by World Heritage Bus

AinokuraAlight here for the Ainokura Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses

Approx. 15 minutes by World Heritage Bus

SuganumaAlight here for the Suganuma Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses

From Nagoya

JR Hokuriku Main Line
(approx. 3 hours : Shirasagi limited express)

Kanazawa Station

Approx. 14 minutes on the JR Hokuriku Shinkansen

Shin-Takaoka Station

Approx. 1 hour 3 minutes by World Heritage Bus

AinokuraAlight here for the Ainokura Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses

Approx. 15 minutes by World Heritage Bus

SuganumaAlight here for the Suganuma Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses
Gokayama Historic Village
of Gassho-style Houses

Easy Access from Toyama Airport to Gokayama

Toyama Airport

Approx. 40 minutes by Kaetsuno Bus
(airport shuttle bus bound for Takaoka Station)

Takaoka Station

Approx. 1 hour 18 minutes by World Heritage Bus

Kaetsuno Bus
AinokuraAlight here for the Ainokura Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses

Approx. 15 minutes by World Heritage Bus

SuganumaAlight here for the Suganuma Historic Village of Gassho-style Houses
Gokayama Historic Village
of Gassho-style Houses
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