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.