I wanted to greet 2017 overseas so I decided to fly to Japan (a.k.a. my happy place). The trip was sadly a short one because I was heading to Korea and Philippines as well, but I managed to visit some really awesome places and squeezed in some fun adventures that I’m happily sharing with you, right about now.
Anyway, after a couple of email exchanges with my beautiful Japanese friend Satomi, we decided that from Tokyo we’ll be visiting Kanazawa en route to Shirakawa-gō. I will be writing a separate post about Kanazawa because both of these places deserve a post of their own.
Now a little background of this UNESCO World Heritage site. Shirakawa-gō is renowned for their gasshō-zukuri (合掌造り) architectural style farmhouses. These farmhouses are super strong and were designed to easily shed snow from their roofs, to withstand the heavy snowfall during winter time. The village is located in the mountain regions and get heavy snowfall during the colder months and transforms into a winter wonderland. Alas, when we got there, there were hardly any snow, instead we were greeted by rain, so I didn’t get to see Shirakawa-gō in its full winter wonderland glory, but this hidden, I mean historic village still took my breath away.
Most of these farmhouses are over a hundred years old, but they’re still very much functional. They easily adapted/incorporated the modern amenities to let the younger generation (and tourist like me) enjoy and experience the blending/fusion of the old and new traditions that is uniquely Japanese.
After tea and some much needed (short) rest, Satomi and I headed to the lookout point to get the best views of the village.
I tell ya, it almost felt like I’m in the Hidden Leaf Village. It has this shinobi village vibe and if it wasn’t raining, I would have pulled a ninja run just for the hell of it. As always, we regret the things we didn’t do, lol. After taking gazillion selfies and pictures (of the same view), we slowly headed back to our lovely farmhouse to have dinner, and by dinner, I meant feast. Our host family prepared the yummiest dinner that I still dream of to this day.
Our host family also prepared some entertainment for us and introduced as to the village mascot.
After dinner, we went to another farmhouse that had an Onsen. Remember my post “16 Travel Tips I live by” where I said you must always carry some cash when traveling? Well I don’t always practice what I preach and almost missed out, but luckily Satomi lent me some coins and I was able to enjoy a soothing hot spring bath (arigatuo Satomi).
The following day, we were also served the most delightful breakfast. I swear it was better than the ones I’ve had at 5 star hotels. The daughter of our host family also performed for us, a traditional dance and made us play some instruments.
And then one last tour of the village before heading back to Kanazawa.
Shirakawa-gō is beautiful all year round. Despite the lack of snow, I still really enjoyed our short stay. Maybe next time I’ll go during spring or summer time so I can do my shinobi/ninja run. Until then…
Love and light,
P.S. Pardon my Naruto references, I couldn’t resist.