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A Winter in Shirakawa-gō

A Winter in Shirakawa-gō

I managed to live in Japan all those years but wouldn’t catch sight of one of the most important winter tourist wonders. But this year, all the energy in the air made me rent a car to go on a 5-hour sliding trip onto the mountain passes to… Shirakawa-go!


The arrival into the valley is wonderful and is definitely worth the rugged ride. My fiancée and I are delighted: our romantic escapade sure looks great! Shirakawa-go (town in the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites) is nicely lit and the nicest houses are made to be seen, all in their humble ways. It’s superb!

Shirakawa-go by night
Shirakawa-go by night.

It’s quite hard to take decent pictures among the tourists that are everywhere so we just enjoy the atmosphere. I find myself particularly amused to see the Japanese people searching for their position on the map; the town is surely tiny but everyone seems to be trying this game. With the joyous Japanese-ish feeling, we could swear we’re in a child’s dream…

Shirakawa-go Farm
A farm in Shirakawa-go.

This region is known for its important snowfall during the winter season, which explains the roofing of the houses which avoid the snow to pack. But it’s no chance for us; because this year, there is less snow. So much less that the surrounding inns and shops are worried that tourists might be full of it too soon! To be honest, I came here to have an attempt at making a similar picture to this Shirakawa-go puzzle. And yes, this is the same house as the one above but not exactly in the same scheme.

Shirakawa-go Roof
Roof in Shirakawa-go.

The next day, we came back in town hoping we could grab nice colours. But unfortunately, no blue skies and even less snow than yesterday! Actually, in theses conditions, Shirakawa-go is way nicer by night. Nonetheless, here what the town looks like in broad day.

Shirakawa-go Street
Street of Shirakawa-go.
Shirakawa-go Main Street
Main Street of Shirakawago.

The Shirakawa-go town is only illuminated on select evenings in winter so don’t go there without looking into it beforehand! By the way, did you have the chance to take pictures of the town under the snow, day or night shots? If so, you’d be kind to share it with everyone in the comments 🙂

  • Lovely, isn’t it?
    I visited a few winters ago and was able to take similar photos, just that they hadn’t started the night illuminations yet. Too bad. ^^;

    • It’s really awesome, but so many people up there 🙂 Which is funny, on all the photos it seems like there is nobody at all! Yeah, it’s better to make sure the illuminations are on before going, otherwise it might be quite dark right? I would actually be interested in looking at a photo taken with no illumination.

      • Yeah, same when I went there. ^^
        I only stayed during daytime and left shortly before it got dark, so I don’t have any nighttime photos.

  • Woo! I’ll be going there next weekーfinally! 😀 I think there’ll be a fair amount of snow though, they reported 42cm just yesterday. I hope it stops, but stays before we go though. 😉


Who Am I

azalea, drone, flower, japan, japanese, kyushu, natural, nature, saga, spring

I am Jordy Meow, I am a French photographer living in Japan. My interest is to discover and share information about offbeat and lesser known locations for foreigners coming or living in Japan. I published books and now preparing new beautiful series of guidebooks.