2012 Japan Trip - Part 2 (last updated on 2013/11/16)

2012/06/19 Shirakawa-go Trip

6/19 25.3-21.5

Woke up at 2:00am again but this time I could not fall back to sleep easy. Got up with a help from an alarm clock at 5:00am. Stretched my body then took a quick shower. The concern over the typhoon #4 was eased when I realized that the expected landfall is moved back from 6:00pm in Osaka to the midnight. It should give me a plenty of time to visit Shirakawa-go, and come back. Went upstairs to have breakfast with my brother who was setting assignments on teachers to watch over the end of the term exams in his school. I had breakfast together with my brother then left the home at 7:20am, walked to a bus stop nearby to catch a bus leaving the stop at 7:30am. The rain has not started quite yet so I did not have to use umbrella while I wait in a line. The bus came on time and headed toward Nagoya. I realized, despite of having the cab almost full, no one speaks in the bus. The guy next to me was playing game on his cell phone then fell sleep in the middle. The bus arrived at Nagoya terminal at 8:00am. I walked to a convenient store at JR station, bought my lunch, which was two rice balls and a bottle of tea. (Done)

To Shirakawago 9:00am - 11:50am

I came back up to the bus center and looked for a place to sit down. Many people are already in the waiting room so I gave up. By looking at the buses coming in the rain might have start falling so I began to worry that the bus might be cancelled. I was paying attention on the monitor to check on the schedule for other destinations. The bus is schedule to leave at 9:00am, but I do not see it even 15 minutes before. It finally came at 8:50am but departed on time. The bus had to follow the slow traffic on the local road until it get on the highway.

The bus to Shirakawa-go came

The bus took Kiyosu Line (名古屋高速6号清須線) from Nagoya bus terminal to Kiyosu JCT then switched to Ichinomiya Line (名古屋高速16号一宮線) to Ichinomiya IC to get on Meishin Expressway (名神高速道路) to Ichinomiya JCT, now we are on Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway (東海北陸自動車道) to head north, soon the rain started getting harder and I guess this is how it is going to be today, making the first stop at Kagamihara Bus stop at 9:40am but no one is getting on or off. 長良川サービスエリア at 9:48am located in Seki City. The surrounding changed from polulated area to mountain area. The but continue heading north, passing Gujo city limit at 10:00am, getting off at Gujo Hachiman IC (郡上八幡IC) at 10:10am and made a stop at local bus transit station. Took another 10 minutes break then getting back on the highway at 10:25am.

Hirugano Kogen SA at 10:49am, Entering Takayama city at 10:52am, Getting off highway at Shokawa IC at 10:55am. From here on, the bus took a local road. Kokudo 158, a.k.a. Shirakawa Kaido. The bus moved along a lake, passed Iwase bashi then to Iwase tunnel where the tunnel is too small for large vehicles, such as bus and truck to cross each other.

Stopped at Hirase Onsen at 11:30am

Arriving at Shirakawago at 11:45am, the bus stopped

Getting off at Gujo Hachiman, then get back on, getting off at Sokawa Took Route 158 to 156 to north

The sky was cloudy and I did not get to see much of the surroundings due to bad visibility.

Cloud covered

My lunch, two rice balls and a bottle of tea, 410 Yen.

Making tight turns and running through narrow tunnels

Rock filled dam (Miboro Dam)

Arrived at the terminal about 30 minutes behind the schedule.

At Shirakawa-go

I was staying in the bus after passing Shirakawa-go stop because I was not familiar with the location. I arrived to the terminal, which was in front of the local ward office. Hmmm. I should have got off at the parking instead. I told the driver to pick me up at the parking instead of this terminal and got out.

I just don't know where to go so I did not hesitate to walk in the building and get a map from them. The outside was raining so I had to pull out my rain jacket and also an umbrella. Both worked pretty good. I started to walk (back) toward the parking. The first place I stopped is a shrine, according to the legend, they found a fountain from the base of a tree. I then decided to go up a hill to a viewing spot at the top. I got there around 12:20pm. The wind caught up so it was a bit hard to keep the camera dry but managed to take this picture.

The view of Shirakawa-go

Wada House Tour

I then started to walk down a road and arrived at the famous Wada house at 12:37pm. I paid admission (300Yen) and then walked around. They were the leader of the town and exhibit on the first floor showed wooden dishes and bowls from 1800s, a red set was used in wedding and the other black set was for the funerals. The second floor was for silk making. and they had license to sell peterpiper. Wrapped up the tour around at 1:00pm and headed out. The rain was still falling but not so hard for now. I walked to nearby Kanda house, which was another well known structure but I did not entered because the sign said the tour can be arranged so it was not really a welcoming feeling.

Wada house

Narrow stairway to up

 A typical Japanese style living room  Looking outside

Wada House from the front

Upstairs Silk Winter gears made from Wooden containers

Nagase House

I walked a little further and entered Nagase house at 1:10pm and spent 20 minutes looking around. This was another similar build house. They had more exhibit and fun looking at them,

Another typical living room This is how the roof is supported
A machine Machine to make rope    
Containers   Farming equipment


The last place I visited was a Myozen ji, a temple between 1:30pm to 1:50pm. I then walked toward the parking, crossed a rive via bridge. There was a museum near the parking to show relocated buildings from closed villages. Although the rain was getting hard, I entered the museum at 2:00pm and visited many houses for 30 minutes.

Daihachi Guruma Wooden mill  


View from window

Relaxing at irori (fire place)

Other Photos




I came back to the parking but still had some time, so I walked into a museum which has many houses transferred from abundant village due to people moving to more populated area.

 Mill house  Tea House    

Coming back to Nagoya 3:15pm - 6:00pm

Walked back to the bus stop at 2:50pm. The rain was falling hard and I needed a break. Since I have some time before leaving, I walked into a gift shop and bought a few boxes of snacks for my brother's family and both grandmas. I was hoping to eat lunch but the timing was not quite right so I only snacked a rice ball and beef crocket.

Snacking on rice ball (left) and croquet (right)

Walked to the waiting room near the bus stop and decided to wait for now. While I wait, I checked the weather in my iPhone. The typhoon is approaching on schedule. I also get to talk with a guy who is planning to visit Takayama tomorrow. He told me about the bridge to cross the river nearby was build from wood and not solid 40 years ago He also told me of the number of the traditional houses declined here, too.

The bus to go back to Nagoya at the parking.

The bus came on time. I had to walk toward it under hard rain and was the only passenger on returning trip. The bus left the stop at 3:38pm and began heading back to Nagoya. The bus got on the highway from Shokawa at 4:26pm. The rain was not bad but the color of the river water running nearby was brown, meaning there has been a lot of rain. Stopped at Hirugano Kogen at 4:40pm. By then the rain has gained strength and hitting the windows harder. Made a short stop at Gujo Hachiman bus terminal at 5:04pm for about 5 minutes then departed with a new driver. Back on highway at 5:30pm. I could hear the rain hitting the window pretty good. Passing Seki city at 5:40pm and Kagamihara at 5:47pm. By the time the speed limit of the highway is reduced to 60km/h. Passing through junction to Nagoya highway at 6:05pm, now the rain was hitting the bus from the side. The bus arrived to the bus center around 6:30pm. I had dinner at McDonald's at Nagoya station and come home via a Meitetsu bus. Relaxed. It was a long day and a long trip.

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