After our morning spent in the beautiful merchant town of Takayama, we were back on the bus headed for Shirakawa-go, the UNESCO World Heritage Site. There’s two parts to Shirakawa-go, the Heritage Museum and the main village. Here’s a link to the English map on their website.
Separating the Heritage Museum from the suspension bridge that takes you over to the main village area are a few souvenir shops and public restrooms. Crossing over the Shokawa River on the suspension bridge brings you to the main village of Shirakawa-go where you can walk amongst the homes, museums, shrines and temples. A steep but relatively short hike to the top observatory area gives stunning views to the village below. I would highly recommend giving yourself enough time during your visit for this hike although I believe it is closed in the winter when the heavy snow makes it impassible. Very thankful to have my momma on this trip to share such a beautiful place with. She was with us for about 6 weeks and was able to see some pretty amazing parts of Japan.
The roof is designed to withstand the weight of the heavy snow this area of Japan gets in the wintertime. The images of Shirakawa-go under snow are breathtaking. Just google them and see. Each roof in the village is re-thatched once in 40-50 years and the whole village takes part in re-thatching 3-4 roofs each year. Keeping the drinks cold. A little ice cream break for the boys. Japan has some incredibly delicious ice cream. This was plain milk flavored…which beats our vanilla any day. We visited Shirakawa-go back in November…I’m a bit late on blogging.
I came across this travel guide for Takayama and Shirakawa-go that looked helpful for those who don’t have access to an MWR tour. You could spend an entire day here just wandering and taking in this beautifully slow lifestyle.