Thursday, February 25, 2016

A visit to Snow covered Shirakawa- go

it has been a while since I have posted anything on the blog. Few things have kept me busy, one of them being studying Japanese and appearing for the JLPT exam. And I can happily announce that I have managed to clear the N3 exam ! Preparing for the exam hasn't kept me away from my passion - travelling ! My family has been making the use of every available opportunity to travel and experience the culture and beauty of this wonderful country. I will be updating this blog more often than I did in the last year, hopefully !

Let me renew my blogging with a post about our recent travel to one of my favorite spots in Japan - Shirakawa Go. Last month we visited the well known UNESCO World Heritage site in the neighboring Gifu prefecture for the second time (the earlier visit had been in summer 2013). Our memory of the place was that of thatched roofed Gashho zukuri houses standing tall among rice fields in the Hida valley. I had written about that visit in a previous post titled Idyllic Shirakawa.   

Our recent visit was in winter when the entire valley was covered in thick snow. The view of the Ogimachi Gassho village from the Tenbodai (viewpoint) on a nearby hillock.
The snow covered Gassho zukuri houses in Ogimachi stood out in the white snow. 

It was a wonderful sight, a contrast from our memory of the place. We took a picture of some Gassho zukuri houses at the same spot as we had taken in our previous visit in summer and when we compared the two pictures the contrast was amazing. Nature never fails to amaze us. 
Even in the cold snowy weather conditions, there was no dearth of tourists and there were many tour groups and tourists were enjoying the sights and playing in the snow.
During January and February, the village is illuminated at night for a couple of hours and this event attracts many visitors. We did not stay back for this as the drive back home late in the night would be difficult due to the snowy driving conditions. 

 As per the news reports, this winter has been slightly warmer compared to other years. And the amount of snowfall has been much less than the average snowfall in the region.  

Paid parking is available at the Seseragi Parking area uphill and free shuttle buses ply visitors between the parking lot and the Ogimachi Gassho zukuri village.

On our way back from Shirakawa go we drove past the Omaki dam and Miboro Dam to enjoy some picturesque views of the snow covered area. 

Even if you have visited Shirakawa go in any of the other seasons, I would definitely recommend a visit in winter. 

Access details and other information are available on my previous post about Shirakawa Go. Click here to read my previous post.

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