A&E on the World Heritage Train East 2009 travel blog

Shirakawa-go (an Erica pic)

Bell tower in the rain, Shirakawa-go

Flowers and barn, Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go chilis (an Erica pic)

Shirakawa-go

Firepit, kettle and I in Kanda House, Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go (an Erica pic)


In the Last Samurai, Tom Cruise ends up in this rural area with a bunch of samurai. I was very keen to go to Shirakawa-go because it sounded a bit like the place in the film, old style (gassho) houses in forested country.

The latest typhoon was still doing its stuff, though the wind and rain subsided as we went by bus to Takayama, our base for the next two nights. We are here for the town itself, Shirakawa-go and the Festival that starts tomorrow. Despite trying dozens of places, we could only get accomodation for tonight, but on arrival here the very helpful tourist information sorted us out for tomorrow night too, so we can stay for the festival. Great stuff!

We had a bit of an explore - the town looks very nice - and then got a bus out to the World Heritage (them again!) villages of Shirakawa-go, specifically Ogi-machi. The area was settled by masterless samurai farmers and is now noted for the traditional large and steep-roofed thatched gassho houses. Extended families lived on the ground floor and reared silkworms in the higher floors, the steep roofs helping with the mountain snows. Continuing the theme of our time so far in Japan, it rained continuously, though on the plus side this kept most of the rest of the tourists away. We both enjoyed Ogi-machi very much, the huge thatched houses with their steep-pitched roofs were great, even better inside, and hugely photogenic despite the lack of light and the constant rain.



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