Archive for February, 2011

Trip report: Shirakawa-go

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

Over Christmas, I went to the village of Shirakawa-go (a.k.a. Hinamizawa) with some people I met on the internet. Not having brought any reference material, I didn’t get the angles quite right, but there’s still enough material to do the traditional anime pilgrimage post.

The scene from the Ogi-machi viewpoint:

And the trail up to it:

I looked for the bus stop and picnic spot up on the mountain, but under the foot-plus of snow it was a bit hard to see anything.

The Shirakawa Hachiman shrine seemed to be closed up at the moment:

The ema board and offering box were still out; despite the apparent emptiness of the shrine, the board was full four layers deep of ema, and every single one of them seemed to have been left by passing otaku:

More starting here.

The Furude house (actually just some guy’s shed) and the clinic:

The village itself, having been named a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its many traditional houses, has mostly turned into a tourist trap, with many of the homes turned into gift shops or bed and breakfasts, and many of the residents being elderly and retired (not unusual for Japan). I also wonder how they manage to walk in the winter, as I slipped and fell down about eight times in 24 hours.

If you’d like to see what it looks like when not covered in snow, here and here have some more reports.