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Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road in Japan 2024

A scenic road with dramatic mountain scenery

Best time: June–mid–November

Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road
Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road
Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road

Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road (formerly known as Hakusan Super Rindo Forest Road) is a beautiful drive winding through the mountains. The road that connects Hakusan City, Ishikawa Prefecture with Shirakawa-go, Gifu Prefecture, is 33 km long, with an altitude gain of 1400 m. A tunnel connects two prefectures. The toll road is open from June through mid-November. It's also prohibited to use it after dark. The best time for a drive is fall months when leaves turn into autumn hues (koyo).

Hakusan White Road with switchbacks, sheer drops, steep climbs, and hairpin twists offers many photo opportunities. Breathtaking panoramic views, exciting hiking trails, and a few waterfalls are awaiting visitors along the way. When you cross into Gifu prefecture, the road gets exceptionally curvy, and there are few stops along the way. Shirakawa-go’s Gassho-Zukuri Village is a top spot on the route along with the Gokayama Gassho-Zukuri Village as both are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another highlight of the trip is the riverside Oyadaninoyu hot spring offering no changing facilities, but with beautiful views onto the Ubagataki Waterfall.

Hakusan Super Rindo Forest Road was asphalted in 1977. It can be only used by cars and pedestrians. The speed limit is 30 km/h. As its length is about 33 km (20 mi), the trip along Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road takes about one hour. The scenic route goes through the alpine reserve of Hakusan National Park. There is an admission fee for one-day and round trip, and opening hours from 7 am to 6 pm. in June–August and from 8 am to 5 pm from September to early November.

Practical info

What are the important details about the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road?

The road stretches 33 kilometers and reaches an altitude gain of 1400m, allowing only visitors on foot or car. The speed limit is 30 kilometers per hour, and one-way trips take one hour. The road is open to visitors from June to mid-November, and a toll fee is required for one-day and round trips. Show more

When is the best season to explore the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road? Why?

The Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road is best travelled from June to mid-November since leaves change color to red and gold, providing breathtaking views. During winter, snow and ice make it difficult to drive. Visitors are advised not to drive on the road at night. Show more

Can motorcycles be ridden on the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road?

Pedestrians and cars are the only transport types allowed on the road. The speed limit for vehicles is 30 kilometers per hour. As a way of regulating the number of cars that travel on the road annually, a toll fee is administered for a one-day and round trip. Motorcycle riders are not permitted on the road. Show more

Are there any notable hiking trails in the area of the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road?

Yes, various hiking trails provide breathtaking views of the surrounding terrain. Hikers can enjoy the Hakusan National Park, which has a panoramic view of the mountains. The Oyadaninoyu trail located nearby features the Ubagataki Waterfall and includes a hot spring. Visitors might find these hiking trails incredibly rewarding. Show more

What fees are required for visitors to access the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road, and when is the road accessible?

Visitors must pay a toll fee, which varies by one-way or round trip passes. The road is open from 7 am to 6 pm between June and August, and from 8 am to 5 pm during September and November. Travelers should avoid driving on the road at night. Show more

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