Monday, March 16, 2015

Fluffy white trail at Shirakawa-go, Japan

Shirawakawa-go, located between Kanazawa and Gokayama is a UNESCO world heritage near the west coast of Japan. U will agree with me instantly that this pic is so stunning. Right? :)))

A few months earlier, when we were planning for a winter esplanade of new gourmet experience, we found out about this village. No one has ever mentioned about this UNESCO site, situated a mere 45 minutes away from the main city Kanazawa. 

What made us squeeze in this lil village into our already packed 9 days gourmet trail was the Winter Light-up organized by the village. It only happens 7 evenings a year out of 365 days!!!! wow now that got my attention :)))

There are a few villages in Shirakawa-go and the most beautiful one is Ogimachi. It is also the largest of all with triangle shaped farmed houses which are as old as 250 years. These houses are shaped in this way to withstand the heavy snow. Locals called it Gassho Zukuri - constructed like monks' hands in prayers. 

Look at the thickness of those snow!!! It could snow up to 2 metres here and we can attest to it. Never before in my life I got so much of snow landed on my body that we needed umbrellas!!!!

Picture perfect beauty. No words needed to describe its landscape.

Getting here requires months of planning and advance reservation. We only found out bout this amazing and beautiful place like a month before our trip. So the only way to get there was to hire a chauffeur. Oh well no complains for monkey tee hee hee. Definitely better than taking the bus. Hehehehehe.

So the hotel concierge did all the planning and bookings. Japanese are efficient as alwiz. The attention to details are mind boggling. We have everything needed and more than needed provided by the hotel and chauffeur for this lil trip of say 6 hours?

When we arrived, both Monkey and JS dashed into the snow as though it's sparkly gold powder. It's really powdery soft to our amazement. Funnily though, how befitting, the main city of Kanazawa is very much associated with gold for it produce 98% of gold leaf for Japan.

White beauty

almost with no contrast, it made photography a challenge. But Mr. JS had just got into videography instead of photography so it was movements, moments and landscape that he yearned for. While Monkey continued to run around like a mad loose animal outta its cage, amassing as much of snow as she could on her way. Digging in with her hands and collapsed into the soft fluffy powdery snow as though it's her Tempur feather soft bed....aaaAAAaaaaaahhhhh

But I gotta say it's really cold, definitely below zero
So the three of us just kept on singing "Let it goooooo let it go!!!!"
oh why Olaf what happen to ur nose?

My umbrella was extremely useful, to shelter from the occasional snow fall which covered my nose and face, plus as my walking stick as we descend from slippery almost like glass area. A few visitors landed on their back with thuds and laughter ensued. This is definitely a HAPPY place, ppl even laugh in pain. HAHAHAHAHHAA and yes I laughed in this extreme chill~~~

Nope, I did not dig this up. Someone else did and I just kinda borrowed it for a picture. Hehehehe. At such a happy place, no one was at war here, except snowball war.

Villagers decorated the villages with props from their farm.

It was snowing so heavily but we wanted to capture the Gassho at the back which is a temple. 

really heavy snowfall. We were constantly dusting ourselves. There were just too much of snow accumulated on our bodies!!!

Icicles on the roof and the mountain landscape was so captivating. Pine trees all covered in snow.

If you are hungry here, don't fret. There are souvenirs shops and eateries. One of the experience that visitors seek here are to stay in one of these gassho house. 

I think both of us still prefer to stay in Kanazawa on the comfort of our proper beds :)))) hehehehehe. City slickers!!!!

We hung out for bout 2 hours walking around this village. It isn't big but we took our time plus all the numerous pitstops just to play with the soft powdery snow!!!

Then it's time to catch the sunset and winter light-up. The best point was to hike up the mountain at Shiroyama viewpoint. It's about 15 minutes hike but could be slower due to heavy snow condition. Hiking was up easy peasy but coming down was a challenge, as you fight gravity and the slipper pavement covered in snow!!!

Isn't it pretty? We could just savor and basked ourselves with such stunning view. And we have yet to reach the top.

and we were there, the lookout point towards the village was so so stunning!!!! Breath taking!!!! I kept asking myself, are we really still in Japan? This kinda landscape is so unusual!!

JS quickly setup his tripod at one of the best spot. Well with the winter crowd to watch this 7 nights only winter light-up, u better hurry up here to secure the best spot.

JS: "My dear Monkey, are u still alive? U ok? Not too cold?"
Monkey: "Heeeeee I'm having so much fun here. Don't worry bout me :)))"

and we stood there with the amazed japanese crowds all yelping in ehhhhh ohhhhhhh nohhhhhhhh and more ehhhhhh~~~~~

yes it's so stunning even the local Japanese was mesmerized too!!!

and time lapsed, very slowly each gassho house was lighted up unveiling such a beautiful pointy silhouette. While all these was happening, Monkey was bz analyzing how did the thin branch could hold so much of snow without breaking. Yeah me and my brain busy at work. Super randomness.

and finally, the lights were switched on revealing the stunning and beautiful village. So so beautiful and definitely worth the trouble of coming all the way here in the heavy winter snow!!!!! and definitely worth the cold!!!! Brrrrrr~~~~~

we didn't remember it being this cold until after all the handwork of capturing these for you readers, we glided down the slipper slope to find our chauffeur to head back to civilization of Kanazawa. Aahhhhh dinner waits us and will post bout that tomorrow.

Do take time to view JS's very first video project, and more to come in the near future.

It was really a surreal experience. :))))) since words can't be expressed here, do enjoy the video folks!!!


Mef said...

G'day Cher-ry and JS.

Wonderful video. Really enjoyed it. 👍👍👍

Background music by Cher-ry?

JS, Happy and blessed birthday 🎉🎁🎂

js said...

Thanks MEF for your wishes. Hope all is well with you.
The music........takumi. Nice tune :))

CHER-RY said...

Hello Mef!!!

How are you? :)
Nope, I'm not so talented to play like this, though I did try to play this song.

Mef said...

G'day JS and Cher-ry

I'm well. Thanks.

Have a great Friday and weekend.