Beauty of Shirakawago

Do the names Gifu and Kanazawa ring any bells? Or maybe they are a faint memory hidden in the recesses of your mind?  In this blog post I will shed some light on these two culturally rich prefectures in Japan.

Not long ago, I rented a car in Kyoto and explored the area northeast of Kansai.

The first stop was Gujo Hachiman, a small mountain village that takes pride in its water and is famous for its dance festival every summer, the Gujo Odori. It’s said that the dance goes on all night on each of the four consecutive Obon days in mid August. Another funny fact is that Gujo is the place where Japan’s famous food replicas were invented, and are still produced there today.

As the sun began to set, we checked in at the cozy Sakura guest house in Takayama. Before going to sleep, we had a Nightcap at the Red Hill Bar in a hidden place a bit far from the central area! The Morning Market was also decent, but filled with strange and often unnecessary things. The highlight of that excursion was that I was able to finally try goma(sesame seed) flavored ice cream! It was overpriced but delicious.

The second stop was our main destination, the amazing Shirakawago village in Gifu Prefecture. It reminded me of Sweden in many ways, except for all the Japanese people there. There was a fresh mountain river running through the valley by the village. The local village temple had a fire that was perpetually burning downstairs, and even during the hot summer months! I heard that it was to keep insects away.

We spent the last day in Kanazawa, where we stayed at another guest house. The enthusiastic owner there showed us the true meaning of Japanese Omotenashi. The house is called Akatsukiya and is a cultural heritage site. It also has a beautiful garden that can be viewed from the dining area.

The final destination of the trip was Kanazawa’s Myoryuji  (Ninja) temple! In reality, it has nothing to do with Ninjas, but the temple was built by the Maeda lords of feudal Japan and has many deceptive defenses. There were hidden rooms and traps, and scaled a total of seven stories! We first spoke to a rude Japanese woman who gave us misleading information about parking spaces. However, the experience was saved when a guide from the temple came to the rescue!





日没が近づいたとき夕日をせに、私たちは高山にある居心地のいい桜ゲストハウスにチェックいんしました。夕食を食べ、就寝前に中心部から少し離れていて、見つけにくい場所にあるRed Hillというバーで寝酒を飲みました。そしてまたゲストハウスに戻り旅の第一日目を終えました。高山市の朝市はなじみのないものや、観光で来ている私たちには不要なものが売ってあったため、そこでは何も買いませんでした。しかし、その朝、私はついに!高くて美味しい胡麻アイスクリームを食べることができました。