Shirakawa-go & Japan’s 2nd Longest Toenail

“And very soon, you will see the second longest toenail in Japan,” our guide Yamamoto said with glee on our bus ride from Takayama.



Gerard looked at me with one brow raised.

“That’s weird. I think he said toenail.”

I shrugged my shoulders back. We didn’t realized our tour came with a Guinness World Record sighting too. Strange but hey, we are in Japan. I’ve seen weirder things.

Along the way, Yamamoto would speak first in his broken English (heavy but very likeable accent), then again in Japanese for the lone girl on our tour while pointing out landmarks and attractions. We, of course, were anxiously waiting for a glimpse of the longest toenail, but then we went into a tunnel.

“Shoot, did we miss the toenail?” I asked Gerard.

“I dunno, but this is a really longggg tunnel,” Gerard replied.

Sure enough, the tunnel went on forever. Nearly 2km long! Suddenly, there was a long pause, a snap of realization as Gerard looked at me, eyes wide open, and quite literally the light at the end of the tunnel before..

“Yamamoto, where is the toenail?”

“HERE HERE.. Yes, second longest toenail in Japan,” he points outside the window.

At this point, we were hysterical.

“OHh ho hoo.. you mean TUNNEL!,” we both said simultaneously.


We’re sad to report, we don’t have any pictures of toenails, we know you’re disappointed. We are too. But I think you’ll be just as amazed when you see Shirakawa-go in stills. I know we were. It’s a beautiful village. Like straight out of The Last Samurai, only we were reminded that it was filmed in New Zealand and NOT Japan.


Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO remote mountain village famous for its farmhouses which are built in the gassho-zukuri style. Along with the Gokayama region nearby, it is the only example of this style in Japan today. Some are more than 250 years old.

shirakawago-4  shirakawago-farmer


shirakawago-collageEven the plants & leaves have an old Japan charm to them.



Most of the homes are now converted to museums and retail shops. There are a few remaining homes with families living in them.

Two of which you can pay admission to visit the inside of a farmer’s home. The cost is ¥500.

shirakawago-walk shirakawago-wheel

G had to sneak in a jumpin’ shot at the end.


Things You Should Know
  • iSite Takayama provides a half-day tour that is actually cheaper and faster than taking the local bus from Takayama.
  • The tour cost ¥3,800 and makes at the stop at the Observatory for the view shot above.
  • The village is very small with one road. 90 minutes tops to stroll through the whole place.

You might like:

Share and Enjoy


, , , , , ,

35 Responses to Shirakawa-go & Japan’s 2nd Longest Toenail

  1. DebbZie July 23, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    LOL…that’s hilarious. Toenail = tunnel :p

  2. Saša Jan?iki? July 24, 2012 at 12:15 am #

    Very, very ,very lovely photos!

    • Gerard ~ GQtrippin July 27, 2012 at 4:20 am #

      Thanks Sasa! It was hard to select just a few photos for this post. We’ll probably share more on our FB page in the future.

  3. Ana Silva O'Reilly July 26, 2012 at 5:07 am #

    ha ha ha – i didnt qyuite get it! very good. Loved the photos! Wow

    • Kieu - GQ trippin July 28, 2012 at 5:44 am #

      Lol, thanks! Took us a while to get it too. Guess you just had to be there. ;)

  4. Chrystal-Clear July 26, 2012 at 6:01 am #

    I LOVE WHEN ACCENTS MAKE FOR HILARIOUS TRANSLATIONS!! Best moments of travel right there!! Your photos look incredible!!

    • Kieu - GQ trippin July 28, 2012 at 5:45 am #

      We were definitely lost in translation on this one among many others while in Japan. It was great! Thanks for trippin’ by!

  5. The World of Deej July 26, 2012 at 6:27 am #

    OK this made me literally laugh out loud… Reminds me of the “City Wok” episode of South Park…If you haven’t seen it, look it up:)

    • Kieu - GQ trippin July 28, 2012 at 5:45 am #

      I still lol thinking about it. Will have to youtube that episode when we get home.

  6. Lazy Travelers July 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm #

    all of these photos make us want to go to japan asap. way more than the promise of the world’s longest toenail.

    • Kieu - GQ trippin July 28, 2012 at 5:46 am #

      Japan is incredible even without the toenail. You guys should definitely go when you get the chance.

  7. Jetting Around July 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    Hahaha… Nice one, guys! I’m still giggling. Fun post and beautiful photos. I really must go to Japan…

    • Kieu - GQ trippin July 28, 2012 at 5:47 am #

      Hehe, we’re still giggling every time we think about it. Put Japan on your list for sure!

  8. LifePart2 July 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm #

    Great shots!

    • Kieu - GQ trippin July 28, 2012 at 5:47 am #

      Many thanks! Have you been?

      • LifePart2 July 28, 2012 at 6:04 am #

        No, I have never been to Asia. Moving to Bangkok in September to remedy that. Will definitely be checking out Japan.

  9. Lauren DiMarco July 28, 2012 at 5:49 am #

    phew. so glad it was tunnel not toenail. that freaked me out for a second! everything is so green! love the plant photos. AND the one of Gerard jumping. i’m starting understand why people are so obsessed with jumping pics now ;)

  10. travelingted July 28, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    Wow, that last photo is so cool looking it almost looks fake. Very beautiful scenery and amazingly beautiful homes and farms.

    • Kieu - GQ trippin July 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm #

      We played with the miniature function on our point and shoot.. does look a bit fake huh. :)

  11. Chris E July 28, 2012 at 6:36 am #

    beautiful! thanks for sharing!

  12. Callie July 28, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Haha! I was bracing myself for a completely grisly toenail photo…gorgeous pics though, what a great little place!

  13. CaptainandClark July 29, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Haha I’m going to admit that I was kind of looking forward to the toenail. Is that sick? Regardless, your pictures are beautiful and have me daydreaming of Japan. Love the jumping shot!

  14. craig zabransky July 29, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Toenail or not, these are some great images…. curious how many takes did it take for the jump shot… it’s a brilliant image.
    stay adventurous, Craig

    • Kieu - GQ trippin August 11, 2012 at 11:34 pm #

      On the first jump! Hardly happens. Usually takes us at least 3 or 4 to get it right. :)

  15. Audrey Bergner August 3, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    My first thought when I read the title of the post was “Ewww”. I’m glad to say I wasn’t disappointed by the lack of toenail. ;)

  16. acoupletravelers August 16, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    Haha did not guess that toenail was actually meant to be tunnel! Looks gorgeous. We start our trip in Japan on Sept 15 and Shirakawa-go is definitely on the list. Will have to look into the half day tour – thanks for the tip!

    • Kieu - GQ trippin August 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

      You start your trip in Japan?! So jealous. It’s definitely my fave on this trip. We’ll be releasing more Japan posts soon.. :)

      • acoupletravelers August 28, 2012 at 10:32 am #

        Yep getting to Japan on Sept 16 and spending 2 weeks there! Very excited! Just read the Takayama post and am definitely making sure to find some hoba miso there!

  17. Quixotic Road October 6, 2012 at 10:14 am #

    Beautiful village….thanks for taking and sharing these images! Is the last one a tilt-shift?

Leave a Reply