When we were originally placed in Gifu, we were quickly made aware of the fact that Gifu city is not a paricularly special place to be. Despite the fact that it is relatively industrial, and not terribly picturesque, there are several things that have quickly endeared us to our city.

The biggest thing that we have loved about our new city is that it is convenient. It is easy to get around and leave the city to go visit other, more beautiful places.

Last weekend, we went to visit one of these places. A little town called Shirakawa-go located in northern Gifu-ken.

Shirakawa-go was declared a world heritage site in 1995 by Unesco. It is most famous for its’ unusual architecture – A-frame buildings with thatched roofs. Walking around the small town was almost like stepping back in time. It didn’t seem that this village has changed at all in hundreds of years.

Before the Doburoku Matsuri (unrefined sake festival), we spent the day walking around quaint, little Shirakawa-go. It was a gorgeous day, and we had a lot of fun just taking it all in.

Thatched Roof

Most of the builidings, even little utility sheds, had these amazing thatched roofs. Apparently, the roof must be replaced every 30 years or so. When a building gets a new roof it is a major event and the whole village gets involved, similar to a barn raising.

Drying Rice

We got to see rice drying out. This is not as familiar of a sight as it used to be in Japan. Often times now rice is harvested and dried in a less traditional way.

Walking up the Road

And then we walked up the road to the Tenbodai Lookout. From up here we were able to see the view that is often found on postcards of the area. And, just like everyone else at the lookout, we took pictures of our own.

On Top of the Mountain

That’s us at the top.

Shirakawa from Beyond

And that’s a closer view of the village.

All in all, it was a great way to spend a day.

Posted on Friday, October 19th, 2007 at 10:26 am. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Shirakawa-go”

  1. […] There were a number of traditional thatched roof houses that are so famous in this part of the country. They were almost more amazing covered with snow than when we saw them in the summer at Shirakawa. […]

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