Ah, a real village | SierraSun.com

Ah, a real village

Renee Shadforth
Sierra Sun

Photo by Renee ShadforthThis is a house in Shirakawa Village. Many of the houses in Shirakawa are hundreds of years old. The place is considered a Wolrd Heritage site.

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.