Photographer's Note

Enchanting Shirakawago

Hidden among the high peaks of the Japan Alps the narrow valleys and the river-swept plains show a distinctive culture, different from Japan’s busy cities. The name of this region is Hietsu.

In Shirakawago village (also spelled Shirakawa-go) you will find the largest collection of houses built in the gassho-zukuri style.
About 100 of these houses are spread across the mountain valley.

No surprise that this village is much visited by Japanese and by foreign tourists. So it’s better to go there as early as possible in the morning or else stay there until the departure time of your last bus.
In the middle of the day, there are a lot of tour buses.

My previous picture showed the houses in Ainokura, a more remote village with less visitors.
Also in Ainokura there’s a viewpoint from where you can see most of the village but because of the large amounts of snow that there were still remaining from in the winter, it wasn’t possible to reach that place.

In Shirakawago in April most snow had melted already and all roads were cleared. So I walked to that viewpoint. This is one of the pictures I took there.
It was already late in the afternoon and there was less light.

It’s possible to visit Shirakawago and Ainokura by public bus on a daytrip from the city of Takayama.
Some people visit this region while based in Kanazawa. I’m not sure if that allows you also to visit both villages on the same day. Possibly … but I can’t confirm this.
You can also stay overnight in some of these gassho-style houses. But then I needed a somewhat larger travel budget :)

In the workshop a closer view of a gassho-style building.

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Additional Photos by Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6552 W: 22 N: 15419] (60866)
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