Ah, a real village
October 24, 2005
The snap of autumn had definitely arrived when we went to Shirakawa, a small village with nearly 1,900 people located about four hours from Tokyo. The place is known for its thatched, steep-pitch roofs (gassho-style houses) that withhold snow depths that rival those of the Lake Tahoe area.
The village is considered a World Heritage site because of efforts to maintain the structures for hundreds of years.
Though Shirakawa is pretty isolated, there were many tourists on the streets when we visited on a Friday and Saturday. As the tourists mill around, the people who live in the village go about their usually business, tending to their rice fields or hanging their laundry.
I think it would be strange to live there ” like you are in a fish bowl of sorts. As tourists walked in and out of shops, they would stop to take a photo in front of someone’s house. Strange.