Shirakawa-go, Hida — A World Heritage Site Illumination Display Website

For Visitors Coming by Chartered Bus (with Illumination Display Reservations)

Information on chartered bus parking lot usage hours for visitors not seeing the illumination display:
Chartered buses without a viewing permit for the illumination display must leave the Seseragi Park parking lot with all passengers on board by 17:00 on the date of the illumination display. Passengers riding such a bus should be informed in advance that they need to return to the bus by 17:00, before it leaves the parking lot.
Information related to the illumination display:
The information provided on this page can also be downloaded as a PDF file. Please print a copy for your own use.
For visitors coming by chartered bus (with illumination display reservations)

1. Introduction

The illumination display takes place in the evening with deep snow and below-freezing temperatures, which makes accidents and injuries more likely.
We as organizers have done our utmost to make the illumination display an enjoyable event, and we would also appreciate it if you and your friends and customers with you would familiarize yourselves with the rules of the event in advance. It would be our great pleasure to make the Shirakawa-go illumination display an event you remember for the rest of your lives.

Note: “Chartered buses” include microbuses and larger vehicles.

Note 1: Definition of “microbus”
In general, a microbus is defined as a bus whose size makes it a “medium vehicle” (8 tons) under the driver’s license classification (total vehicle weight under 8,000 kg, total load weight under 5,000 kg), and which carries between 11 and 29 passengers.

Shirakawa-go Illumination Display Organizing Committee

2. The illumination display cooperation fee

The Shirakawa-go Illumination Display Organizing Committee (hereinafter referred to as the committee) , which runs the illumination display, funds its operations through an “illumination display cooperation fee” (hereinafter referred to as the cooperation fee), which it collects from visitors who come to view the illumination display.

Cooperation fee:
• Cars and taxis: ¥1,000 per vehicle (tax included)
• Chartered buses with reservations: ¥20,000 per bus (tax included) (note 1)
In order to ensure the safety of the illumination display event site, we have discontinued chartered buses with lottery-based reservations.

We receive absolutely no income other than the cooperation fee for running the illumination display. The illumination display is run solely using the cooperation fee paid by visitors who come to see it. This fee is put toward the following expenses.

  • ① Expenses related to ensuring safety, such as hiring security guards during the illumination display event and purchasing snow melting agents.
  • ② The expense of having shuttle buses for the convenience of event visitors
  • ③ The expense of purchasing equipment and supplies, such as lighting equipment related to the illumination display event
  • ④ Other operating expenses required for hosting the illumination display event

Furthermore, the cooperation fee is used for absolutely no purpose other than that of running the illumination display. For that reason, please be aware that the cooperation fee, once paid, cannot be refunded for any reason.

Note 1: Buses designated to park in the Seseragi parking lot must pay a separate fee of 3,000 per bus. Be aware that you are not able to specify the parking lot.

3. The adoption of a reservation-based system for all chartered buses

For the following reasons, we have implemented a reservation-based system for all chartered buses coming for the illumination display.

  • ① To alleviate traffic in the Seseragi parking lot, around the restricted traffic zone, and on the highway
  • ② To alleviate crowding and ensure safety with regard to visitors at the illumination display event site
  • ③ To lessen the impact on the illumination display event site and nearby residents
  • ④ To improve the illumination display event in other ways

1. Designated reservations:

If all passengers of your chartered buses pay to make use of the services provided by the applicable facilities on the applicable date, then permission to visit the illumination display event will be provided for up to three buses per bus company that has been specified and approved by the committee. Please be aware, however, that some facilities allow applications (agency reservations) from customers other than chartered bus tour groups.

The decision to accept reservations and how many buses to use is made by each bus company, so some bus companies might be unable to accept reservations even with fewer than three full buses. Additionally, even if the bus company is in a position to accept reservations, if the parking lot is full or the event site is full to capacity such that allowing more visitors could impinge upon event safety, the application might be rejected.

To apply for a reservation, submit the application form after filling out all the items required by that bus company. Permission to visit our event will be officially granted once the committee has received the paperwork from that bus company and has confirmed payment of the cooperation fee by the visitors.
The committee is unable to answer any inquiries related to the status of your application; please contact the relevant facility instead.
Note that permission to visit the event may be rescinded if any of the following situations occur.

  • ① If it is discovered on a later date that the cooperation fee is unpaid or paid in the wrong amount
  • ② If a deficiency in the paperwork is discovered and the successful applicant has not corrected the problem
  • ③ If the applicant fails to understand the event rules and provisions
  • ④ If the applicant is found to be causing trouble for the event and other visitors

Be sure to present the permit you obtain when approved on the day of the event so we can check it. Visitors who do not have the permit in their possession might not be allowed to visit even if they have previously been notified of approval, so please keep it safe and prevent it from getting lost.

2. Bus reservations from outside Japan

We do not accept reservations directly from applicants outside Japan. (Any applications received directly from recipients outside Japan will be considered invalid.)

Those wishing to apply from outside Japan should submit their application through a travel agency in Japan.

Note regarding illicit behavior
Engaging in illicit behavior, such as having passengers board and alight outside the designated parking lot or attending the event without a permit, will be handled in the following manner.

  • ① You will be assessed a fine of 50,000 per vehicle.
  • ② Applications to visit the Shirakawa-go illumination display will be permanently rejected (for the entire franchise or group)
  • ③ Your name will be publicized on our website.

4. The illumination display viewing permit

A viewing permit is needed in order to visit the illumination display. Please bring your viewing permit with you on the illumination display event date you have reserved. After multiple checks have been done by event organizers, we will have you park in the parking lot. Chartered buses without a viewing permit must leave the Seseragi Park parking lot with all passengers on board by 17:00.

① Zones requiring the display of your viewing permit

Your viewing permit will be checked by personnel when you enter the restricted traffic area that leads to the parking lot mentioned on your permit, so please get ready to display your permit when you get close to the restricted traffic area. Any vehicles not displaying a permit will be stopped and checked by the event organizers.
Note: Multiple checks may take place, depending on the restricted traffic area. We appreciate your cooperation.

② Please place your viewing permit on the windshield or in a location easily seen through the windshield while the vehicle is in the parking lot to show that it has a permit, even when the driver is not present. Remove the permit when you leave.

Note: It takes some time after stopping the bus to check the permit, and this can result in traffic congestion, so we ask for your cooperation in making the process go smoothly.

③ Important information on displaying viewing permits

When you display the viewing permit, make sure it doesn’t obstruct the driver’s view.

④ Having a viewing permit reissued

You will not be able to view the illumination display if you are unable to display a viewing permit that has been lost or forgotten, even if your bus received a permit from the organizing committee. If you lose your viewing permit, you can have a new one issued through the following procedure.

  • A. Have a contact person telephone the committee office to request a new permit.
  • B. We will confirm your applicant and company information as well as the information printed on the documents you were sent by the committee.
  • C. Once the details have been confirmed, the committee will tell you how to obtain the permit. Please follow the instructions given to obtain it.
  • Notes: ・See「“10. Contact information for the illumination display event”」for our contact information.
  • ・The procedure for confirming the applicant and issuing the permit requires several days.
  • ・The procedure for receiving a reissued permit may vary according to the season.
  • ・The applicant may be responsible for bearing the costs of reissuing a permit.
  • ・We accept no responsibility for scheduling delays, losses, and other problems caused by the reissuance procedure.

5. Traffic restrictions

① To ensure the safety of visitors and vehicles on the day of the illumination display, each location will be implementing traffic restrictions. The locations and hours of the traffic restrictions will be posted on our website, so do not forget to check.

② Traffic restrictions and shuttle bus operations are subject to change without notice due to bad weather, accidents, and other factors. In such instances, please contact local event staff or the tourist information center for details.

6. Important information regarding restricted traffic areas and parking lots

① In order to ensure safety to the Seseragi Park parking lot and the rest of restricted traffic area, only reserved vehicles and vehicle traffic related to the illumination display are allowed entry, according to our road usage license with the Takayama police. Be aware that all other vehicles will be denied entry.

Prohibited behavior:

  • Examples
    Case A: You have asked a catering company to deliver meals to the Seseragi Park parking lot.
  • × The caterer is denied entry. Arrange in advance to meet and obtain the meals in a location that doesn’t cause inconvenience for others, outside the restricted traffic zone.
  • Case B: After parking in a parking lot in the restricted traffic zone, someone who has forgotten to bring important documents with him informs someone else of his location so they can drive to him with the documents.
  • × Similarly, the vehicle is denied entry into the restricted traffic zone. If the person bringing the documents is driving a regular car, he could park in the parking lot (paying the cooperation fee of 1,000 per car) and take the shuttle bus or walk; or else, he could wait until after the event finishes to meet up outside the restricted traffic area. The same would apply for someone coming by taxi.

② All passengers should board and alight from the bus in the designated parking lot.

7. Vehicle equipment and clothing

  • ① Your vehicle should be equipped with snow tires or chains.
  • ② Check the weather and traffic report the day before and prior to your departure, and adjust your plans accordingly.
  • ③ Traffic congestion is a possibility. The event’s end time (19:30) will not be delayed, so you should give yourself plenty of time to spare.
  • ④ Advise event visitors to bring the following clothing and items.
Ideal clothing for the illumination display event:
・Wear clothing that offers good protection against cold and wind.
・Wear shoes with slip-resistant grip on the bottom (cold and water-resistant boots are ideal).
・A raincoat is better than an umbrella if it rains (you can’t use your hands if you fall while holding an umbrella).
・A flashlight

8. Important information for attending the illumination display event

  • ① The roads may be very slippery due to snow and ice. Please wear clothing that is appropriate for walking at night in the wintertime.
  • ② During the period of the event, it is extremely difficult to use wheelchairs on the roads due to snow and ice, so please plan accordingly.
  • ③ Please watch out for snow and icicles falling from roofs.
  • ④ The roadside water channels are left uncovered for snow removal, so please exercise caution.
  • ⑤ The restrooms in the illumination display event site will be very busy, so please use a nearby restroom in advance.
  • ⑥ You may only smoke in areas where ashtrays are provided. Buildings with thatched roofs are extremely susceptible to fire.
  • ⑦ There are no public waste receptacles in Shirakawa-go. You must either return garbage to the store or restaurant where it came from, or take it home with you.
  • ⑧ Please do not trespass on private property.

Note: The event facilities do not offer indoor barrier-free access.

9. Contact information for the illumination display event

Shirakawa-go Tourist Association (05769)-6-1013
Telephone hours: Open year round, 9:00-17:00Note: All information provided by the committee is subject to change without notice.

10. Download illumination display event reservation application form

We are not accepting applications for event reservations at this time.