START: SHIRAKAWA STATION
1. DARUMA PAINTING EXPERIENCE
Try out painting a traditional Shirakawa Daruma, or how about making your own unique design?
There are two main places in Shirakawa City where daruma are made: Watanabe Daruma and Sagawa Daruma Workshop. I have added both of these to the map at the top of the page. Whilst Sagawa Daruma is a short walk from the station, it is easier to access Watanabe Daruma by car / taxi.
2. KOMINE-JO CASTLE
The surrounding walls and the wooden structure of this castle were damaged due to the Great East Japan Earthquake, but the castle has been reopened to visitors. It is free to visit, with a nice visitor center nearby where you can try the Shirakawa Daruma Burger for lunch! The castle is rather small, but it isn’t jammed full of museum-like information, which makes visitors able to imagine what it must have been like in the past.
Nearby there is a watchtower where guards played large taiko drums to warn the castle of approaching enemies.
3. SHIRAKAWA RAMEN
A regional specialty, no trip to Shirakawa is complete without trying the local ramen! (Unless you’re a vegetarian!!) There are many shops dotted around the town so you should be able to find somewhere with no problem.
4. NANKO PARK
Cafés, restaurants, a shrine, and shops that sell Japanese sweets and treats are all nearby Nanko Park. The park is large and would make a good place to visit for those who enjoy walking, especially if they have an interest in the Japanese shops nearby.
Nanko Park is a little far to walk from the central town area, so if you have come on foot, I would recommend getting a taxi there, or coming to Shirakawa by car.
5. SHIRAKAWA NO SEKIATO
Shirakawa no Sekiato used to be a checkpoint where Japanese visitors would have to come to move up or down the country. Now hidden in the middle of a wood, it is difficult to imagine how Shirakawa no Sekiato looked hundreds of years ago when it had such important significance.
As with Nanko Koen Park, Shirakawa no Sekiato is rather far, so unless you have a car or wish to come by taxi, I may leave this last stop out of the day plan and return to Shirakawa Station, from where you could return to Tokyo, or head to Fukushima City, or stay overnight in a nearby traditional Japanese Inn!
Accessing Shirakawa Station
From Tokyo Station:
- Shirakawa can be accessed by the Tohoku Shinkansen from Tokyo Station.
- Take the shinkansen high-speed train to Shin-Shirakawa Station, then transfer to the JR Tohoku Line heading for Koriyama (郡山).
- Get off at Shirakawa Station （白河）. (2 hours)
From Fukushima Station:
- Take the JR Tohoku Line for Koriyama 郡山, then get off at Koriyama.
- Transfer to the JR Tohoku Line going to Kuroiso, and get off at Shirakawa Station（白河）. (2 hours)
By train (shinkansen): Going from Fukushima City by Shinkansen is much quicker, but is significantly more expensive.
- Take the shinkansen from Fukushima City to Shin-Shirakawa.
- Change onto the Tohoku Line to Koriyama
- Get off at Shirakawa Station. (45 minutes)
By rent-a-car: Alternatively, drive from Fukushima City in around 1 hour 15 minutes.