Situated within Nanto, which is located to the east of Kanazawa, the Gokayama area is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site thanks to its historic villages.
The villages feature a number of traditional houses – the oldest of which date back more than 400 years. It is also surrounded by plenty of stunning natural sites, with the Shogawa and Oyabegawa rivers running through Nanto City and the forests of Hakusan National Park being located nearby.
Despite its remote location, Gokayama is fairly easy to reach from Kanazawa. A number of companies run regular buses to Gokayama, taking around 1 hour.
Shirakawa-go is located in the north-western part of Gifu Prefecture, which is east of Kanazawa City. Similarly to Gokayama, the small traditional village is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is situated among gorgeous natural scenery. The oldest remaining farmhouses in the village date back more than 350 years, making it the perfect trip for those seeking a glimpse of the region’s past.
Similarly to Gokayama, Shirakawa-go is straightforward to reach from Kanazawa. A regular bus runs from Kanazawa East Gate Bus Terminal straight to Shirakawa-go’s bus terminal.
Takayama City is similarly located in Gifu Prefecture. The area is characterized by its narrow valleys, stretching between countless steep mountains.
Due to its location, Takayama remained partially isolated from wider Japan throughout much of its history. Because of this, it has developed its own feel and culture. The city has many sights and attractions to offer visitors, including Shiroyama Park – the former site of Takayama Castle – and a plethora of historic temples and shrines.
To reach Takayama from Kanazawa, highway bus is the most convenient way. From there, take the Limited Express Hida on the Takayama Line, which will take you to Takayama from Toyama in roughly 90 minutes.