During a trip to Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, we visited surrounding areas. We visited Johana town for enjoying the cultural atmosphere in Toyama. We enjoyed machiya, a traditional merchant’s house, with latticed door and a narrow pathway with stone pavement. The town and shops had a great atmosphere. Here’s a quick guide to Johana town to help make your visit a memorable one.
A little bit of History
Johana town was easy to access from Gokayama due to the historical connection of both areas to the silk industry. In the Gokayama region, people have raised silkworms and transported them to Johana town to produce silk fabrics since the 16th century.
The silk fabrics were distributed to Kyoto and Edo cities and got high reputations as Kaga silk. Kaga silk became the economic base for Johana town and merchants contributed to develop it as a silk town and authentic cultural center.
We visited Johana town before we went to the Gokayama region’s Ainokura area and learned its history at Johana Oriyakata. Johana town prospered with silk fabrics.
Johana Hikiyama Festival Floats Museum
Johana Hikiyama Festival Floats Museum displays large festival floats with delicate carvings and exquisite lacquer design. It should be magnificent to see the huge and splendid festival floats being dragged through town, but even to see exhibited festival floats was interesting. I could observe details of decorations and designs closely.
Zentokuji Temple, founded 540 years ago, was located in the center of the town and gave off a mature impression.
What Else to Do in Johana?
There isn’t much to do in Johana town, but it is for sure a great stopover town for lunch or sweets. We took a break at Ango Sweet Shop near Zentokuji Temple.
Ango Sweet Shop has produced Japanese sweets for nearly 100 years and its fourth-generation owner started western style sweets. The taste of the cakes was tender and hearty. The shop has an adjoining Cafe to drink carefully brewed coffee.
How to visit Johana Town
It takes less than 30 mins from Ainokura and Suganuma areas in Gokayama where you can visit Gassho-zukuri Houses by the farming architecture style.
By Train & Bus
World Heritage Bus goes around Johana, Gokayama and Shirakawa-go area and it’s no reservation required. You can take it from Shin-Takaoka Station (Shinkansen Bullet Train).
You can also take Johana Line from Shin-Takaoka Station to Johana Station for 48 mins.