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IMG_1440I once saw a picture of Shirakawa-go on the internet and I was mesmerized. I told myself that someday I will go there. I didn’t actually believe this since I researched the logistics and it is very far from either Osaka or Kyoto where most budget flights usually are from Manila. Then Cebu Pacific opened its Nagoya route and that made it a bit closer. We actually just bought the Nagoya tickets since I’ve never been there. I didn’t book it with Shirakawa-go in mind. It was just like the stars lined in our favor to see this beautiful place in winter in its full glory. So, I’m a firm believer of making goals in your head or dreaming and putting it out there to claim someday. It also takes some work and planning but it does happen. :)

IMG_1387This trip was a bit expensive but it’s a once in a lifetime thing. We paid 4000 yen each for the half day tour from Takayama through J Hoppers. My cousin emailed them a few days before and reserved 3 seats for us. Our meeting place at Takayama is close to the JR station, right in front of a hotel. Our guide was really nice. She gave us a map and instructions along the way. The above picture is the parking lot. There’s that big gassho house with public toilets.

IMG_1548We were instructed on where to go and what is the best way to navigate the place with our maps and what is possible with our limited time. We had to cross this suspension bridge across the river.

IMG_1408Shirakawa-go is a world heritage site. This village is famous for the gassho zukuri houses. According to Wikipedia, “The Gasshō-zukuri, “prayer-hands construction” style is characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof resembling two hands joined in prayer. The design is exceptionally strong and, in combination with the unique properties of the thatching, allow the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region’s heavy snowfalls in winter”.

IMG_1411We decided to head to the viewing deck first so we went to the shuttle stop and waited for the bus. It costs 200 yen per way. This is the schedule of the sightseeing shuttle bus. It takes you up the hill.

IMG_1412IMG_1416It’s a short ride up the hill. Then you line up to go to the viewing deck. Someone actually takes your picture there and you can buy it on your way down. They also take a picture with your camera or device. The Japanese are really good with snow characters.

IMG_1434 IMG_1440The view was really spectacular. There’s also a souvenir shop there. I bought a Sarubobo amulet here which is known in Gifu perfecture. They are traditionally red but I got the pink one for love. Haha.

IMG_2899Then we took the bus back down.

IMG_1469Snow is really aplenty in this area.

IMG_1471We walked around the village looking at gassho houses. You can actually go in one or two of them. They are available for public viewing but we didn’t really bother. We saw a shrine along the way.

IMG_1498I love the winding streets and the snow!

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The houses are so pretty. They also have winter illuminations at night. I wish we could have stayed a night in one of the houses here to see it at night.

IMG_1507 IMG_1519These are my homies..

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We went further down the road and we saw a small store selling snacks.

IMG_1529and these cute Japanese snow men across it.

IMG_1530I loved Shirakawa-go. I’m glad that I actually had the chance to see it. We spent about 2 urs here which is enough time for a small village. The bus ride is about an hour each way. We were back at Takayama and had enough time to catch our bus. I think we scheduled the 5:30 one so we were kind of nervous that we might not catch it. We told our guide about it and she was really accommodating and assured us that we’ll get back in time.

 

 

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