Happy New Year everyone! I know it’s too late to say so, but hey it’s still January. 2013 will be my fourth year in Japan and since 2011 I have always spent new year holiday with my dearest friends, my husband’s foster father, Takayuki, and his wife, Yo. This time we went to the Unesco designated World Heritage Place in the central Japan, Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. We had planned the trip since last October and Takayuki had taken care of everything concerning our transportation and accommodation. We left on the morning of December 30th, 2012, from Omiya by car. We took the highway route crisscrossing Saitama, Gunma, Nagano, Niigata, Toyama, and finally arrived in Gifu Prefecture after total 5 hours driving and several stops at highway service area.
Shirakawa-go was covered from the morning snow, but not too thick. The famous gassho-style roof of the village houses was relatively free from snow.
As the early sunset approached we checked in at our lodging for the night, a gassho house turned into a minshuku. While waiting for our dinner to be ready, we went out to absorb the atmosphere of the village. The cold air and the mild rain could not stop tourist from going about Shirakawa-go. They kept on taking pictures, peeking at souvenir shops, or just holding hands, walking across the bridge, the alleys with snow heaps here and there, and ringing the bell of the shrine. Wait, stop! I saw two Indonesian (probably) ladies in one of the shops. Just to make sure, my husband said hi to them in Indonesian, turned out I was right.
Well, after circling the village we got back to our lodging to lay down a bit, had a shower or soaked our weary bones in the warm wooden bath tub. Of important note, the bathroom was shared among guests to use in turns. Just turn the wooden sign at the door to signal that you are in, feel safe and enjoy your bath. At 9 pm, somebody knocked on our door and said that dinner was ready in the common dining room. The fabulous food recharged our energy for the next day snow-venture.
We woke up early in the morning and went outside around 5 am to get some images of the village in the blue hour. It was snowing heavily. Nobody was on the street, except me and my husband.
Soon my husband was absorbed into the process of preparing his tripod, looking for a nice angle to shoot, while protecting the camera from the snow. At this moment, my eyes caught a movement about ten meters from us. It was a fox. It stopped when it saw us, hesitated for a moment, but then ran and vanished behind our minshuku. I was too astonished to take the picture of the fox, but the fox, too, might have escaped faster if I had moved to using my camera. However, part of me still wish to have a picture of the fox in the snowing morning of Shirakawa-go.