Heya, I seem to be averaging one post every 4 days or so, which is pretty terrible. Nonetheless, I’m very grateful for all 3o or so of you who read my blog :).
Today’s post is about Hinamizawa Shirakawa Village, which is located in the northern corner of Gifu prefecture and about 250 kilometers away from Nagoya. Most of you probably don’t know, but Shirakawa village also happens to be the village that Higurashi no Naku Koro ni and its sequel Kai was based on. I hope I’m not imagining the resemblance :P.
Because the anime happened a while ago and I never finished it for some reason, I can’t remember a whole lot of it. Also, I was traveling with others so this article will be about the village and not so much about anime comparisons.
The village itself is one of 14 UNESCO world heritage sites in Japan, and it is famous for its Gasshou tsukuri or touching palm houses. The houses are essentially wooden houses with sloping thatched roofs. The village is over 250 years old in certain places, but for the most part it’s over 100 years old and is home to roughly 2,000 people. This is officially the least populated village that I have visited in my entire life. Of course, it’s also home to um… Keiichi, Rena, Rika, and company…
First stop is the visitor’s center. It’s been raining nonstop for about two weeks in Central Japan, so I had no choice but to embark on a trip while it was POURING.
I think it’s the first time it’s rained so hard that its gotten in the way of me shooting a picture. All of the houses are private homes, but some of them are open to public visitors for a fee of course (stingy people).
Most of the houses are actually laid out in a very similar way, so if you’ve seen one you’ve kind of seen them all :P. Anyway, this is the living room where they have burning cinders to heat a pot of water and I guess they huddle around it for warmth too.
The houses themselves are all three stories tall, and on the second floor they had a bit of a mini museum set up. They had all kinds of relics and family heirlooms on display. I learned a bit about Japanese history :).
These houses are everywhere in the village, and often come with their own rice fields too!
Walking a little farther north brings you to the shrine… which also charges an entrance fee… absolutely ridiculous. They have some sort of micro-transaction strategy where everyone charges you 300 yen, and before you know it you’re down 2000 yen from visiting houses. If I’m not mistaken, this is also the shrine that Rika gets disemboweled every time :(.
There is a suspension bridge that goes across a huge river to the bus stops and visitor reception area. Across the river is also the only area where you’re allowed to smoke as these houses are literally giant tinderboxes.
Across the river is also an especially well preserved section of the village, accessible for a fee of 500 yen. I’m getting poorer real fast here.
Of course I paid the fee and off I went. The area was almost completely deserted, I’d blame the entrance fee if there wasn’t so much rain.
I ended my trip to the observation post, which is really just a house built on top of a hill overlooking the village. The walk itself is about an hour long one trip and rather steep. Though luckily, they sell ice cream at the top :P.
Well then, until next time… I don’t know what the next post will about yet though.