Snow snow snow... Snowakara-go!

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Jan 29, 2010

Loading Map
Map your own trip!
Map Options
Show trip route
Hide lines

Flag of Japan  , Kanto,
Saturday, January 9, 2010

After a few days, we left Kanazawa's rain, hail and sleet behind, and headed up into the mountains to Shirakawa-go. It's a little town of just 600 people, and once you visit, it's obvious why.

The amount of snow Shirakawa-go gets is just ridiculous. The snow drifts on the side of the road are taller than me, and in some places, taller than Ash. To ensure their houses survive the snow, they have a special form of house called a Gassho, supposedly meaning prayer in Japanese because the shape of the roofs look like two hands clasped in prayer. The roofs are very steep, the idea being that the snow slides off, so its weight doesn't damage the house. They also have to clear the snow from the top of the houses at least once a winter, and they have to be rebuilt periodically - something which involves almost the whole village! (It takes 2 days to remove the old roof, and one day to put on the new one). As the day got warmer, snow started falling off roofs onto unsuspecting tourists.

Each house also has what I can only describe as a 'fire pit' inside, where they have a fire to keep the house warm and boil water and cook food. At one place, they were even using the smoke from the pit to smoke some kind of fruit! It makes the house incredibly smoky though, and blackens the insides of the house.

Anyhoo, it's a really cool place. It can be a little touristy though (lots of tour groups around, especially as we were there on a weekend), but still highly recommended. (Maybe, just maybe, my favourite place in Japan so far).
Slideshow Report as Spam
  • Your comment has been posted. Click here or reload this page to see it below.

  • You must enter a comment
  • You must enter your name
  • You must enter a valid name (" & < > \ / are not accepted).
  • Please enter your email address to receive notification
  • Please enter a valid email address


emily on


Diana on

Amazing! Probably best visited in winter for the full effect.

Julia on

So beautiful. Such an amazing place.
Do you think the smoke pits make the people unhealthy?

Sophia on

They probably give people lung cancer, but it was such a hard life until recently, they probably didn't live long enough until recently.

Use this image in your site

Copy and paste this html: