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Shirakawa-go becomes a winter wonderland

COOL JAPANESE SCENE / Japanese Scene (46) / Japanese Scene (48)

Taking up herewith Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage.
Quote herewith Shirakawa-go News by Japan Times below.
Taking up herewith Shirakawa-go, a UNESCO World Heritage.
Quote herewith Shirakawa-go News by Japan Times below.

Shirakawa-go becomes a winter wonderland
The Japan Times, Japan - Jan 15, 2009
News photo
(Lightuped Shirakawa-go)

By TOMOKO OTAKE Shirakawa-go — a village community in Gifu Prefecture that was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its thatched-roof farmhouses in ... Full story>>
Shirakawa is a mountain village located at the highest peak on Mount Haku in the Ryōhaku Mountains, where it borders Ishikawa prefecture. To the north it borders Mt. Ningyō, and it borders Gokayama in Toyama prefecture. The village's area is 95.7% mountainous forests, and its steep places are characteristic. In between the mountains flows the Shō River, which continues to the north into Nanto in Toyama. Along the river there are a few flat areas, and human settlements are scattered near them.
Please check the YouTube video below. You might feel one of the "Cool Japanese Scenes".

Obon Yasumi, Part 3a: Visiting Shirakawa Go

One of the snowiest places in Japan, 95.7% of Shirakawa is covered by forests. It touches Ishikawa Prefecture to the west and Toyama Prefecture to the north. The border with Ishikawa Prefecture is made by the Ryōhaku Mountains, and the one with Toyama Prefecture is created by Mount Ningyō. The Shō River flows through the village, and most of the population is inhabited in its valley.

Shirakawa is a leading area of heavy snowfall in the world, and due to this climate, gasshō-zukuri (合掌造り) homes were created. Gassho-zukuri settlements are registered as cultural heritage sites. With the shape of the Hakusan National Park mountain ranges as a background, these sites are major tourist attractions. Upstream on the Shō river are dam lakes like the Miboro (御母衣湖).

ファイル:Shirakawa-go houses 1.jpg

Although Shirakawa is in Gifu prefecture, it takes around three hours to get there by bike from Takayama, Gifu, though one can get there in only an hour from Nanto in Toyama. In 1999, an alliance group was formed between Nanto, Toyama (originally several cities in Toyama that now form Nanto) and Shirakawa.
ファイル:Shirakawagou winter.jpg

Due to the income from the tourists who came to see the gassho-zukuri villages, the financial condition was greatly improved. Although the area was famous as a tourist site, once it became a UNESCO site, the area greatly grew as tourists visited. Although this success from tourism helped the income of the area, on the other hand, there was an outbreak of damage to the area from tourists entering people's homes to see how they lived, taking pictures and other such manners. The people who lived in the villages turned their homes into gift shops and parking lots, so it has yet to be seen whether or not the area will lose its World Heritage record (UNESCO has a purpose of protecting and preserving its sites, and becoming a tourist trap is against their goals). There is also a fear growing that the change to catering to tourists will harm the charm of the area's simplicity and fundamental Japanese scenery.

By T.S. on 25 Jan., 2009
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Author:T. SATOH