This might be one of the most beautiful places I’ve EVER been. Including everywhere. Including places I’ve imagined in my brain.
Shirakawago is known for Gassho houses, which are specially built with a grass-thatched roof. The thatching is 2-3 feet thick. To build one of these houses, it takes the effort and assistance of almost everyone in the community. It reminded me of an Amish barn raising or something.
The most amazing thing was how GREEN everything is. We went at a good time, in the winter, this entire place can be covered in snow, but for now it’s beautiful. The houses usually grow rice in paddies around them, so the valley is especially lush.
It was amazing how many people were there. I couldn’t help but think how strange it must be for the people who actually live there. On any given summer day you’d have hundreds of people walking on your lawn and taking pictures of your house. It’s not the kind of place where you shower with the windows open.
It really made me happy to be there. I wished I could just take one of those big tree removers and scoop the whole place up and take it back home with me. But then it would dry up and die in 3 days. Oh, and there’s no tree transplanters that big. So I guess you’ll all just have to come here.
The whole town was pretty amazing. I definitely hope to go back at some point. We worked our way back to the car and made our way home, our legs tired from walking. I’m really glad I got to visit this place though.