After a recommendation from Good Neighbors hostel in Kanazawa, we decided to take a little bit of time to relax in Gokayama, a small group of villages with traditional houses in Gasho style. It’s a smaller sister of the famous Shirakawa-go, where most people go, but the accommodation is very expensive.
Satoe, owner of Yamashita-ya guesthouse, picked us on the bus station and took us to her house. Guesthouse opened only last December amd is a traditional Japanese house with tatami mats. We cooked together (mini Japanese cooking course, yay!), drank sake and talked about Japanese and Slovenian traditional music. Which means watching really old videos on Youtube 🙂
Satoe is a really kind and gentle lady with many interesting hobbies. She loves music and plays Korean and Senegal drums. Mic and her a short lesson in playing drums! Her mother makes tofu in the house next door and Satoe helps her every morning (she also selflessy shared her product at every meal :D).
Guesthouse is close to the bus station and from there you can visit two traditional villages, couple of museums and two onsen, one near the forest and one with lake view. We were to lazy for both but we did see one of the magical villages 😀
Satoe took us on a half day trip to one of her favorite places, the seaside. We went to Himi and Toyama and enjoyed the salty air.
If you like peace and quiet, Gokayama is good place for relaxing. Keep in kind that most of the restaurants close after 17 h, but you can talk to Satoe and have dinner together and share the costs.
Information about traveling from Kanazawa to Gokayama:
- Bus takes around 45 min and costs 1390 ¥/person. This bus also goes to Shirakawa-go. You need to have a pick up or go on a bus to your accommodation.
- Yamashita-ya guesthouse: 3000 ¥/night in a dorm room but if you have your own sleeping bag, like us, you can sleep on the tatami floor for 2500 ¥. Satoe even gave us pillows.
- Breakfast at Yamashita-ya guesthouse is 400 ¥.
- No entrance fee for the villages.
- Bus can be expensive if you buy the ticket on the bus but you can buy a flat rate ticket for 160 ¥ from Satoe.
- Hitchhiking is posssible but there are not many cars 🙂