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.

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  • DebbZie

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

    • Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      That’s exactly how we felt. haha

  • Saša Jan?iki?

    Very, very ,very lovely photos!

    • Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      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.

  • Ana Silva O’Reilly

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

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

  • Chrystal-Clear

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

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

  • The World of Deej

    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

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

  • Lazy Travelers

    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

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

  • Jetting Around

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

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

  • LifePart2

    Great shots!

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

      Many thanks! Have you been?

      • LifePart2

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

  • Lauren DiMarco

    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 ;)

  • travelingted

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

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

  • Chris E

    beautiful! thanks for sharing!

  • Callie

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

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

      Haha yea sorry to disappoint. Thanks for trippin’ by!

  • CaptainandClark

    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!

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

      You and me both.. Imagine my disappointment. lol

  • craig zabransky

    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

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

  • Audrey Bergner

    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. ;)

    • Kieu – GQ trippin

      Lol.. I’m glad you weren’t disappointed either. Hehe.

  • acoupletravelers

    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

      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

        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!

  • Quixotic Road

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

    • Gerard ~ GQtrippin

      Yup!. We took the last one using miniature effect on our canon s95

      • Heather- Quixotic Road

        Ah, very cool. I have to look into that…I love the effect!