Gifu Prefecture: Gassho Village 下呂温泉合掌村
Located just outside the center of Gero Onsen in Gifu Prefecture, Gassho Village is a popular attraction in this hot spring resort on the picturesque Hida River.
Some of the buildings were thus saved from destruction when a new dam in the Shirakawa-go area would have flooded them.
Of the 10 historic buildings the large Historic Odo House (kyu Odo-ke) is registered as an Important Cultural Property and shows how life was lived in a typical Gassho-style house using mannequins and models. On display are original agricultural tools and machinery used in silk production.
Another Gassho house, now named the Shirasagi Theater, has been converted into a theater and puts on a variety of different performances during the year. The Iwasaki House holds a collection of folk crafts.
The Enkukan has a collection of carved statues of the Buddha made in the style of the Japanese monk and sculptor Enku (1632-1695).
On the hill overlooking the Gassho Mura is the Saijiki-no-mori, known for its cherry trees and autumn leaves in season. Banko-an is another historic house here along with a water wheel and mill, a frog shrine and a 175m children's slide.
Scattered over the site are a number of onsen foot baths (ashi-no-yu) and a hand bath (te-no-yu).
Visitors to the Gassho Village can also try their hand at making and painting ceramics such as plates and cups as well as make traditional washi paper postcards in the Hida Kobo which also sells local souvenirs.
There is a morning produce market called Ideyu Market (open April - November) on your right on the road up to the Gassho Village. The same venue hosts a night market, too, July through August.
Gero Onsen Gassho Village Access
Buses leave from Gero Station to the Gassho Village starting at 9am, then 9.40am and thereafter at hourly intervals (10.40am, 11.40am, 12.40pm 1.40pm, 2.40pm, 3.40pm) with the last bus at 4.40pm.
To get to Gero from Nagoya Station or Gifu take the JR Takayama Honsen Line Wide View Hida express (tokkyu; 3990 yen; 1 hour 28 minutes) north to Gero or travel south on the same line from Takayama and Toyama (2 hours 16 minutes).
By road, drive via Nakatsugawa on the Chuo Expressway and then turn off the highway on route 257 or take the earlier exit at Mino-Kamo and take Route 41.
Alternatively, drive direct from Nagoya on Route 41 through Komaki. Journey times are about 3 hours for all routes by road.
There is an Express Bus from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo to Gero taking about 5 hours and 50 minutes for the whole journey.
A daily bus leaves Gero in the morning for Nagoya Station returning in the afternoon. A return journey is cheaper than buying two singles. Journey time from Gero to Nagoya is about two and a half hours.
There is also a direct bus to Osaka from Gero and one bus north to Takayama. Gero's bus station is directly opposite the JR railway station.
Gero JR Station Tel: 0576 25 2044
Recommended places to stay in Gero include the Japanese-style Izumi-so near Gero Station, Gero Onsen Fugaku, Yunoshimakan, Mutsumikan and Suimeikan - all have their own private onsen spas and excellent full-course Japanese breakfast and evening meal.
Gero Onsen Gassho Mura Video
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