Wednesday, October 5, 2016

JAPAN HIDDEN GEM -- SHIRAKAWA-GO (UNESCO SITE)

Have you ever been to the fairy tale world?

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April 2016, Spring in Japan, across the snowy mountains in Nagano and Gifu prefecture, we arrived at the fairy tale-like village, one of the legendary UNESCO sites -- SHIRAKAWA-GO.


     Shirakawa-go is a small, traditional and historical village; the unique feature of the village is the architecture style, named as Gassho-zukuri. The houses in this area are all traditionally thatched. The people still preserve the natural way of house-building, living with the natural and taking good care of it.

     Shirakawa-go is a place worth going during any season. Some say that during winter, especially at night, those who enter Shirakawa-go would feel as if they've wrongly entered the fairy-tale world. But the truth is, Spring in Shirakawa-go is as great as winter times, only warmer!

     Even by just walking around the town, everything seemed surreal to us. Well since we were there, we seize the chance to walk into the pretty houses and learn about the old time shirakawaian’s life.

    The ticket to enter the houses was around 300 yen. Inside the house you could see how people worked, built houses, and sew clothes during the old time.We were allowed to go upstairs, take pictures, visit the “temple in the house” and sit in the living room accompanied by a “traditional heater”. 

Temple in the house.
Us in the living room. 
upstairs with the old machines and tools.
Traditional heater.

It rained a little bit on the day of our visit, but fortunately it wasn’t that cold.... In fact, the rain created a better atmosphere.







Shirakawa-go is really beautiful but it's quite hidden in the mountains. There are buses and tours taking you there. You may depart from Tokyo and reserve accommodation in the village. But this is going to cost you A LOT.  So, please think twice about it. 

How do we get there?
Four of us had chosen to rent a car for 2 days at 7000yen. Hence, we were free to move around wherever and whenever we wanted. 

We rented the car from Matsumoto-shi, which is 3 hours bus journey away from Tokyo. 
In Matsumoto, don't miss out the Matsumoto castle if you are a history buff. Check out why the top of Matsumoto castle is slanting towards one side?! *wink*


Matsumoto Castle (The Crow Castle) entrance fee: JPY610

Of course, other than the castle, do not forget to grab some Soba noodle before leaving the town.


We travelled in the dark to Takayama-shi (famous heritage town) and stayed for one night. The next morning, we explored the heritage town, filling up our stomachs at the morning market, and took a walk down the historical streets.




Next day before noon, we departed to Shirakawa-go. It took us almost 1.5 hours to drive from Takayama-shi to Shirakawa-go.


The return journey to Tokyo took us around 6.5 hours. That was our 2 days 1 night weekend getaway. ;) It was a little bit rushing for us, but if you could depart earlier from Tokyo and leave Shirakawa-go later, I bet it'll be a highly enjoyable trip! 

Travelling or plan to travel in Japan? Get your international driving license, get a few friends, and now you are ready for it!


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This blogpost is written by MHF Contributor, Choco Yinns
An ordinary girl who loves the beautiful world like everyone else. The only difference that set her apart from the others might be this-- She is willing to put everything down but her luggage, stepping out to experience the world she loves.

Feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below!

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