Hakusan Super Rindo Forest Road & Shirakawa-go
Trip Start Jul 26, 2008
48Trip End May 17, 2013
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This time, I rented a car at Gifu City, because my car doesn't have an ETC card reader and a car navigation system, which are essential to take the express way (because of a large discount) and to drive to unfamiliar places. I chose the Mazda car rental dealer and it was 5 minutes' walk from the station. I booked a car for 11:00, but they prepared the car for us just after we had arrived there at 10:15. So we were able to hit the road in five minutes. The first destination was Shirakawa-go, a small village in the mountainside
We took the Shirakawa Highway from Shokawa to Shirakwa-go. Unexpectedly, we found a beautiful lake on the highway. Actually, I didn't know even the name of the lake at that time, but the lake was so beautiful that I tried to pull over the car a few times on the way. Eventually, I couldn't stop the car, but I managed to stop by the lake on our way back to Gifu City. Anyway, we reached Shirakawago two and a half hours after we left Gifu City.
Shirakawago has been designated as a UNESCO's World Heritage Site for its traditional thatched farmhouses. Interestingly, the great buildings were built by commoners of the village, not by religious groups nor authorities. Shirakwago was terribly crowded with tourists on the day. In my first visit, it was mid-winter and the village was covered with heavy snow. For that reason, I didn't see many people in the village, but this time, the number of tourists was far larger than I had expected. We had a bit difficulty even in finding a parking space
Kandas' House Website (only in Japanese)
Hakusan is a 2,707 meter-high mountain located in Ishikawa Prefecture and is said to be one of the three most beautiful mountains of Japan along with Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama. The area surrounding the mountain is designated as a national park and the forest road is a 33-kms-long drive way in order to enjoy great nature views. The downsides are its toll costing JPY 3,150 (JPY 2,540 for a light car) and limited business hours (you cannot stay somewhere on the road overnight.), so I was not certain whether the forest road was worth driving down
It was quite difficult to find the starting point of the road and I almost passed it by without realizing the direction board. After I paid the toll at the gate of Shirakawa, the drive way was just winding uphill for a while. Our first stop was Sanpoiwa Parking Lot and a view from up there was nothing. If you don't spare time to go up to the top of Mt. Sanpoiwa, you don't have to stop by there. Then we stopped at Toganokidai Observation Deck, which was totally nothing. The third stop was Kunimi Observation Deck at the height of 1,100 m above the sea. Observation deck was only two minutes' walk from its parking lot and a view from there was superb and worth trying. There seems several waterfalls along the road, and the most magnificent is 86-meters- high Fukube Waterfall, You may see the waterfall even from the parking lot, but can get a better view from its observatory just in front. My mom was too tired to get out of the car, but she enjoyed a view from the car. The last stop was Ubagataki Waterfall and Oyadani Onsen Hot Spring, the main attraction of the forest road
English Brochure of the Hakusan Super Rindo Forest Road
Shirakawa-go (my blog entry)
It's about my first visit at Shirakawa-go in January 2007.