Shirakawa-go: Open Air Museum

By Cubie - February 27, 2011

After our walk back to village from the viewpoint, we visited the Open air Museum. In Takayama, there was a open air museum as well - Hida no Sato (Hida Folk Museum), exhibiting farmhouses and other buildings from Hida region. We didn't go to Hida no Sato as the main attraction in that museum were gassho-zukuri houses, which were moved there from Shirakawa-go itself. In fact, Koemon is a gassho-zukuri farmhouse which is made into a minshuku.

Gassho-zukuri is a house built of wooden beams combined to form a steep thatched roof that resembles two hands together. In Shirakawa, they are called "Kiritsuma-Gassho-zukuri," and the roof can be looked triangular just like a standing book open. The structure is built to suit the environment in Shirakawa. It is made to with stand heavy snowfall. The house face north and south, to minimize wind resistance. They are also built for be comfort in both summer and winter. The houses stand in a certain direction to adjust the amount of sun in order to keep the room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
(source: Shirakawa Village website)

Back to the museum, this gate leads to the entrance of the musuem. On the left after this gate is a handmade soba shop. We didn't eat here though.

Entrance fee to this open air museum was 500 yen. There were umbrellas and boots on loan. Remember when I said about needing to shed before entering any place? There were a few buildings, and each time we entered, we shed off the snow from our jacket, bag and umbrella. This time we have to take off our shoes as well, so no need to brush off snow from the boots.

Here's how the roof looks like upclose...

Likewise most of Japanese houses, the floor is of tatami mat. Tatami mats are being taken with great care, for example - heavy luggage are not to be put directly on top of tatami mat and wet things are to be dry so water would not drip on tatami mat.

View in the open air museum were breathtaking.

Some parts of the river were frozen...

Cold weather make me hungry... it was time for lunch. I had korokke don. In fact, I had this craving for korokke ever since I saw a little shop selling korokke in Hiroshima and didn't get around to buy it. So when I saw korokke don on the menu, I want! The set comes with miso soup, fruit and tsukemono :P

We went for a little walk after lunch, before boarding the bus to Kanazawa. As I was still sore about the momiji that I didn't buy, Moo Moo Gal introduced me to buy this Shirakawa-go house senbei. I think the cold weather made my hand a little stiff (Me not clumsy!)... I dropped the bag of beautiful senbei right after I paid. My heart sank but upon inspection, it still looked pretty ok. However by the end of the trip and upon reaching Sydney, this is the best-looking senbei left in the bag. :(

Side note: Back to Canberra again...

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  1. It seems that we are having almost the same itinerary. I'm also going to Takayama/ Shirakawa-go! :)

    Your blog rocks!

  2. Glad you find it nice to read. Japan is truly a beautiful place. Hope you have heaps of fun :)