Hakusan Shirakawa-go Ultramarathon: Run 100 km on Mountain Roads in Japan

Posted on 08/10/2015

How to get to Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road from Kanazawa 

From Kanazawa, take the Hokuriku motorway from Kanazawa west interchange and continue driving until you reach Chugu toll gate, which is the entrance to the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road.

The third Hakusan Shirakawa-go Ultramarathon took place on 15 September 2015 on the Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road that connects Ishikawa and Gifu prefectures.

The Hakusan Shirakawa-go White Road is a 33.3 kilometer-long mountainous route between Oguchi-mura village in Ishikawa prefecture and Shirakawa-mura village in Gifu prefecture. Normally, only vehicles are allowed on the road, but it was closed to vehicles on the day of the ultramarathon, and there were only runners on the road through the mountains that has a difference of elevation of around 1,200 meters.

The ultramarathon was held in two categories: 100 km and 50 km. The 100 km started at 4 am, and the 50 km started at 7 am, both from Seto in Hakusan city. This year, 1,581 runners from all over the country gathered at the starting point and ran through the foot of the Hakusan mountain range. 

Along the course of the marathon, runners enjoyed views of the valleys in Hakusan National Park and the historic village of Shirakawa-go, despite struggling with the rises and falls of the tough route, with its cumulative 2,530-meter change in elevation. Local cuisine was provided at the many aid stations set up along the route, and residents cheered and supported the runners as they made their way toward the finish line.

For the 100 km race, 812 people took part from both within and outside of the prefectures of Ishikawa and Gifu, with 658 runners reaching the finish line. The fastest runner in the 100 km race crossed the finish line with a time of around 7 and a half hours, and in the 50 km, the first person completed the course in a time of around 3 and a half hours. On the same day, mini marathons of 10 km and 5 km set off from Chugu Hot Spa, with a total of 155 runners.