Sites to see/facilities

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  • Parking available
  • Restaurant
  • Scenic locations
  • Restrooms
  • Wheelchair accessible restrooms
  • Multi-purpose restrooms
  • Souvenirs
  • Vending machines

1Chugu Rest House

P1

You will find a large parking lot at this rest stop, the first as you enter the Hakusan-go White Road from Ishikawa Prefecture. The cuisine here that makes use of nutritive mountain produce like seasonal plants and mushrooms is exquisite. There are many souvenirs on offer, including soybean powder bean cakes, which are wrapped in magnolia or bamboo leaves. There is charr sushi, a product developed in collaboration with local sushi shops using charr caught in the streams. The unique products are highly recommended. On rare occasions, you can even encounter wild monkeys in the area.

2Hakusan nature conservation center Chugu museum

P2

This exhibit space goes into detail about the history of the flora and fauna of the volcanic area that is Hakusan, as well as the ways of live that evolved in the area. You can touch real animal pelts and see the different trunks of trees; the highly-original exhibits let you virtually experience what the beech forests of Hakusan are like. A natural observation route is installed starting from the exhibit hall and along the Jadani River. If you are lucky, you may even see Japanese serow or wild monkeys. Every Saturday, Sunday, and holiday, volunteer staff act as guides on walks (free) of the area.
(The adjacent Hakusan Forest Road Office is equipped with multi-purpose restrooms and vending machines.)

3Shiritaka Falls

This is the first waterfall you will see after entering from Ishikawa Prefecture. Starting at Mt. Shiritaka, the flows of its water wind a silken white line across the steep mountains. The falls have three tiers; the volume and movement of water differs from where you look at it. In the morning in autumn at around 11:00 AM, you can see rainbows in the middle of the falls.

4Akachi Falls

This is the second waterfall you will see after entering from Ishikawa Prefecture. When the water grows, you will see three streams resembling the strings of a guitar or Japanese “shamisen,” so the falls are colloquially referred to as the “shamisen falls.” The name “Akachi” comes from the fact that, when digging for gold, red stones were found here.

5Kamasoko Falls

P3

This is the third waterfall you will see after entering from Ishikawa Prefecture. Around when the new green foliage sprouts, the water level increases. In autumn, the colors of the leaves produce a beautiful canvas. There is a kettle-shaped pool at the top of the falls considered so deep that it can suck up a tree, which is where the name Kamasoko (kettle bottom) comes from.

6Jadani Bridge

The only bridge running across the Jadani River Gorge. This bridge is 70 meters up and 45 meters long, greatly enhancing the beauty of the valley views. Near the bridge, you will see unique columnar formations caused by chilled volcanic rock. Beyond the arch is a cliff face composed of these columns, as well as views of the Tokuzure Valley. The scenery is simply exquisite during the fall foliage season, almost like a painting.

7Kamoshika Falls

This is the fourth waterfall you will see after entering from Ishikawa Prefecture. These falls are also called the “five-stepped falls” or “five-colored falls” for the five tiers they have. The falls get their name from the high concentration of Japanese serow, or “kamoshika,” a protected species that inhabits the area.

8Jadani Gardens

P4

Descend steps by the Jadani Gardens Parking Lot (pg. 4) and towards the foot of the river to find virgin beech and Mongolian oak trees growing here. There is a footpath from here to Ubagataki (Oyadani no Yu), so you can walk the trail and view the river.

9Ubagataki and Oyadani no Yu

Ubagataki Falls were selected as among Japan’s 100 finest waterfalls in 1990. The tens of thousands of streams of water falling from the falls and along the rock face have been likened to an old woman shaking her white hair to and fro, which gives these falls their name. Beyond the falls are a natural hot springs, Oyadani no Yu. You can soak in the footbaths while gazing at nature.

10Mizunori Falls

As you head from Fukube Falls Parking Lot (pg. 5) towards Jadani Gardens Parking Lot (pg. 4), you will find this stunning waterfall above and right before entering a tunnel. The falls are also likened to an “old man” in order to provide a contrast to the “old woman” falls of Ubagataki.

11Fukube Falls

P5

This large waterfall is located near the center of the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road and is a signature stop. Falling from a drop 86m up, the spray from the falls sometimes even covers the road. A waterfall flows right near the parking lot, with the water rushing past a cliff and creating a dynamic appearance as it strikes the exposed rocks. Many people let out cheers of delight at seeing this natural display. This mysterious waterfall was discovered when the forest road was opened. There is also another waterfall above it, so its name refers to a gourd shape with two tiers.

12Kunimi Observatory

P6

Adjacent to the Kunimi Observatory Parking Lot (pg. 6) is this observatory, with beautiful views at 1,100m above sea level. In addition to views of Hakusan, this popular foliage spot also lets you see the White Road snaking across the mountains.

13Hakusan Observatory

P8

Located at the Hakusan Observatory Parking Lot (pg. 8), this is the best site to see the highest peak of Hakusan (Gozengamine, 2,702m), Onanjimine (2,684m), and Kengamine (2,677m). Below you is a vast virgin beech forest, with views of the new green foliage and autumn leaves.

14Tsuga no Mokudai Parking Lot

P9

This parking lot is located in Ishikawa Prefecture near the border. You will find vast virgin beech forests in the area. The contrast between the first snow-capped peaks and foliage in autumn is beautiful. A 25-minute walk from here will take you to the Fukubedani Gardens Observatory. On the way, you can gaze out at the peak of Hakusan and at Sanpoiwadake. Virgin forests are also a place to see the natural process by which large trees decay and are replaced by new vegetation in the natural circle of life.

15Fukubedani Gardens Observatory

This observatory on the prefectural border is a 25 minute walk from the Tsuga no Mokudai Parking Lot. En route, you will see the peak of Hakusan and Sanpoiwadake. Virgin forests are also a place to see the natural process by which large trees decay and are replaced by new vegetation in the natural circle of life.

16Sanpoiwadake

From Sanpoiwadake Parking Lot, you can ascend a mountain route (50 minutes) to reach this peak at 1,736 meters above sea level. See a 360 degree view of Hakusan, the “Northern Alps” (Tateyama, Hotakadake, Norikura, etc.), as well as mountain plants like the day lily and virgin forests. Sanpoiwadake is a rock face looking out on three points (Hida, Etchu, and Kaga), which gives it its name (“Three Points Mountain”).

17Sanpoiwa Parking Lot

P10

Located at the highest point on the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road (1,450 meters above sea level), this point is on the prefectural border with Gifu Prefecture. You can ascend the mountain trails (50 minutes up, 40 minutes down) and make a route between Sanpoiawadake. On clear days, you can see Japan’s “Northern Alps,” and the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road is the place to see the fall foliage ahead of other areas.

18Shirakawa-go Observative and Buna no Komichi beech route

Across from the Hakusan-go Observatory Parking Lot (pg. 11) are steps that can be climbed to a lookout point with views of the Tateyama and Hotakadake mountain ranges in Hida. Beyond the observation point you will find a virgin beech forest with trees over 300 years old. The Buna no Komichi route lets you experience the budding trees in spring, the shade in summer, and the foliage in autumn. There is something to see in each season.

19Rennyo Tea and information House

P11

This tea house is styled like a mountain cabin and is found within the Shirakawa-go Observatory Parking Lot (pg. 11). It is the only shop along the paid route of the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road. Take in views from 1,200 meters above sea level while enjoying a meal and selecting from among the many souvenirs. The name comes from the fact that Rennyo, a head-priest of Jodo Buddhism, once walked this route. The information house offers pamphlets on the neighboring region and screens DVD footage about the White Road. Please don’t hesitate to stop by.

20Toyota Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute

P13

This location features a range of programming and events around nature and invites visitors to Shirakawa-go, including the next generation of children, to think about how to coexist with nature and the local community. Opened in April 2005.

Summary of facilities found on Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road

The White Road opened in 1977 and acts as a forest route where untouched natural resources are preserved. It links Ishikawa Prefecture and Gifu Prefecture. The road spans from Ozo, Hakusan, Ishikawa Prefecture to Hatogaya, Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture, for a total of 33.3km in length (about 1 hour travel time). The exquisite views have led to this route being used for scenic purposes, and you will find large tour buses plying the route. The roads are open from early June through November 10 (varies by snowfall), and are sometimes closed due to inclement weather. You are guaranteed to find waterfalls on the waters flowing into the main branch of the Jadani Valley. The largest is Fukube Falls, which descend from a point 86 meters up. Ubagataki Falls have been selected as among Japan’s 100 finest waterfalls. Their appearance suggests an old woman letting her white hair sway to and fro. In addition to these two waterfalls, there are also ones in the “eight views” of Jadani.
In spring, you can see views of new green foliage and remaining snows on Hakusan. In summer, enjoy beating the heat in this cooler area and going on treks. In fall, you can enjoy the autumn foliage and “sea of clouds” around Shirakawa-go, as well as the natural beech forests. Unfurling below you is the village of Shirakawa-go. These and other charms await on the White Road.
You will find large and small parking lots along the route (include multi-purpose restrooms at some), letting you enjoy a convenient drive.
Along the Sanpoiwadake Parking Lot, you will find mountain plants like Hakusan rhododendron. On the waterfall viewing point at Fukube Falls, you will find Hosta montana, tiger lily, Cypripedium japonicum, mountain harebell, Chrysanthemum japonicum, and Sanguisorba hakusanensis.

Scope

  1. Extended 33,331m( Ishikawa Prefecture 18,591m, Ishikawa Prefecture 14,740m)
  2. Paid area 24,531m( Ishikawa Prefecture 14,091m, Ishikawa Prefecture 10,440m)
  3. Free area 8,800m( Ishikawa Prefecture 4,500m, Ishikawa Prefecture 4,300m)
  4. Width (two lanes) 6.5m

Summary

  • Opened: 1977
  • Extended (paid and free routes)
  • Width: paved two-lane road
  • Called the Hakusan Super Forest Road between 1977 and 2014 and the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road since 2015

Facilities

Parking lot number Name Parking capacity Restrooms
Light and standard vehicles Micro Large Men (urinal) Men (Japanese toilet) Men (Western toilet) Women (Japanese toilet) Women (Western toilet) Wheelchair accessible Multi-purpose
P1 Chugu Rest House 52 0 7 9 1 1 6 2 0 0
P2 Ishikawa Administrative Office 49 0 5 5 0 2 0 4 0 1
Chugu Observatory 5 2 1 7 1 1 0
P3 Kamasokodani Parking Lot 24 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
P4 Jatani Gardens Parking Lot 37 0 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
P5 Fukube Falls Parking Lot 10 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
P6 Kunimi Observatory Parking Lot 37 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
P7 Fukube Upper Garden Parking Lot 32 3 0 3 1 0 3 0 0 0
P8 Hakusan Observatory Parking Lot 17 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
P9 Toganokidai Parking Lot 40 0 4 5 1 0 4 1 1 0
P10 Sanpoiwa Parking Lot 51 6 5 4 2 0 4 0 1 0
P11 Shirakawa-go Observatory Parking Lot 69 5 3 9 1 1 8 1 0 1
P12 Gifu Management Office 50 8 5 3 0 1 1 3 0 1
P13 Toganokidai Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute 54 0 2 2 0 2 0 2 1 0
Total 522 24 36 45 8 8 33 14 4 3