25 Oct Driving the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road
Where is The Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road?
The Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road is a 33 km toll road that runs through the Hakusan national park. There are two points of entry to the road. On one side, the Chugu Toll is located in the Ishikawa Prefecture, about an hours drive from ancient city Kanazawa. On the other side is Magari Toll which is in Gifu Prefecture. This toll is located close to the famous heritage site Shirakawa-go. This is where we started. After visiting Ogimachi village and the open-air museum, we drove to the toll, paid our fee at the booth and begun the drive.
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What is there to see?
The road winds around mountains and rises to over 1400 metres above sea level. Along the road there are stops for walking trails that lead to waterfalls. Fletcher slept for the whole drive so we didn’t get out to do any trails. It didn’t bother us as there was still plenty to see. The whole drive we were surrounded by gorgeous mountain scenery and we passed by a few roadside waterfalls. The Jadani Bridge is located along the road. This bridge crosses the Jadani river gorge and offers a wonderful view. We took turns getting out at the observatories.
When we started on the road it was really foggy and spitting rain but as we got higher and further along it fined up and we got some great views as we drove along.
We drove along the road at the end of October and the trees were showing beautiful Autumn colours. I believe a week or so later was predicted to be the peak time for Autumn viewing, however, the road closes in early November over the winter period. You can check the fall foliage here.
If you drive the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road, please do not stop along the road other than the designated areas. We came across so many tourists that had just pulled over and were standing out on the road taking photos. It’s a very dangerous thing to do as you can not see around the bend. It was quite busy and we often saw cars having to swerve around people or cars that were in the wrong spots.
Our car GPS told us that the toll booth was approaching so we were able to find a place to pull into and turn around before we reached it. We weren’t being dodgy. It is actually stated on the ticket prices that you can do a u-turn within the tolled area and pay a one-way fee. We drove back and were able to see some other small falls along the road. We returned to Takayama for our last night there.
Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road information
June to August: 7:00 AM–6:00 PM (gates close at 7:00 PM)
September to November: 8:00 AM–5:00 PM (gates close at 6:00 PM)
The open and closing dates can change so check the website for updates.
Standard vehicle one way: 1,600 yen round trip: 2,200 yen
Website: Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road official website here.
The Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road was a wonderfully scenic drive. With a toddler that needed naps, our day worked out perfectly. We all explored Shirakawa-go and then our toddler slept in the car, leaving us to enjoy the serenity.
Read our other Japan driving posts
- Renting a car and driving in Japan
- Driving to Inuyama Castle
- Self drive to Shirakawago
- Mount Fuji Views driving trip
- Driving around Fuji Five Lakes