With more than 20 well-preserved Gasshouzukuri thatched-roof buildings, Ainokura is a piece of living history that offers a rare glimpse at pre-modern Japan.
Ainokura is easily accessible from Toyama, Takaoka, or Shirakawago.
You can visit Ainokura as a daytrip from Toyama or Takaoka. From Shintakaoka Station, take the bus to the Ainokura stop; the journey takes about an hour. Those coming from Shirakawago can also take the same bus line, going in the opposite direction, reaching Ainokura in about 45 minutes.
Ainokura's location deep in the Gokayama valley has long isolated it from outside influence. Although accessible by bus, the village retains the timeless ambiance of a bygone era. Along with neighboring Suganuma Village and nearby Shirakawa-go, it's also one of only three villages of its kind, a key factor in a shared UNESCO status.
While most buildings in Ainokura are private residences, a few operate as minshuku, or traditional Japanese lodgings. Equal parts rustic and cozy, these inns afford even closer contact with the historical setting. The fragrance of sturdy old wooden beams weaves a kind of spell, evocative of a past few can claim to remember.
The main events in Ainokura's yearly schedule include various winter and spring illuminations or light-up displays.