Before planning this trip I didn’t even know that a part of Japan’s mountains were actually called the Japanese Alps. This brought to my mind curious images of French alpine villages remixed in a Japanese fashion, or should I even say in a Myazaki fashion?
Shirakawago is one of the very few traditional villages that have been meticulously preserved. It has an impressive collection of thatched roofs A-framed farms that made it a little bit of a museum-village, but not only. Sure, some of them have been converted into B&Bs or small museums and a good lot of tourist buses are coming daily, but on closer inspection the magic is still there.
As you venture on the smaller paths and, as soon as the day-trippers leave (which is around 4 or 5 pm), you can help but marvel at everything: the turquoise waters of the river, the tidy vegetables gardens, the spring flowers, the deserted temples, the peaceful rice fields and the inhabitants that are discreetly going about their gardening business.
So, let’s stay the night shall we?_____________ You can reach Shirakawa-go with the Nohi bus. Stay in a Minshuku (the Japanese word for bed&breakfast).