Thursday, 20 November 2014

Shirakawa, World Heritage Village in the Japanese Alps

Shirakawa-go is a small community in the Japanese alps that is popular with visitors because of its unique alpine feel, clean air and curious ghasso style thatched farmhouses.  Some of these massive thatched houses have been converted into ryokans - we stayed a few kilometres south in a classic Japanese style ryokan but spent the day photographing in Shirakawa village.  This was my fourth visit to the valley and the first time i have seen snow on the hills and mountains around the village.

Water trickling out of a ceremonial washing basin carved into a single piece of rock, Shirakawa.

Great view of the 'real' village against the Japanese Alps (5 frame HDR)

One of Shirakawa's carp ponds
Shirakawa is now designated World Heritage

Shirakawa has a great open air museum comprising several rescued ghasso style houses from other parts of the alps providing visitors with a unique opportunity to see how people used to live only a few decades ago.

A most untypical Japanese view - these houses could be mistaken for European dwellings.
It was only put on to electricity in the fifties and now it is so popular with tourists, the integrity of the region is almost guaranteed.
Early morning frost on the Ghasso thatched roof.
Icicles on decorative berries hanging outside of a tea house, Shirakawa.
Early morning frost in Shirakawa - it was very cold and fantastically atmospheric
A typical ryokan breakfast...
Massive apartment style accommodation at our ryokan, Fujiya

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