Sunday, January 8, 2012

World Heritage Part 2: Shirakawago

Shirakawago Open Air Museum

Welcome to the Part 2 of my World Heritage Shirakawago series. In this episode, I will introduce you the Shirakawago Open Air Museum, located just across the suspension bridge from the Ogimachi village. 

To read the Part 1 of this World Heritage series, click here.

I actually returned to Ogimachi on the second day of my trip because I only managed to spend less than 3 hours of my first day there and it wasn't enough to explore The Open Air Museum. I had to leave for the other two World Heritage sites - Suganuma and Ainokura as there were only 4 buses operating a day that connects these 3 world heritage sites. Therefore, I decided that I could come back the next day.

Gassho-zukuri style Restaurants in front of the Open Air Museum

Entry to the Shirakawago Open Air Museum cost 500yen. It exhibits farmhouses that were relocated from nearby villages to Ogimachi to save them from destruction. This museum exhibits about 20 buildings. At the entrance to the Open Air Museum, you will see this huge Gassho-zukuri farmhouse below.

Huge Gassho-Zukuri Farmhouse at the Entrance of the Open Air Museum

And here are images of some of the other buildings captured in the Open Air Museum.

Gassho-zukuri farmhouses in Shirakawago Open Air Museum

Gassho-zukuri farmhouse

A temporary hut for people who have lost their house due to disaster such as an earthquake

Gassho-zukuri farmhouses in the Shirakawago Open Air Museum

A Water Wheel in the Open Air Museum

And before leaving Ogimachi for Takayama (the nearest city 50mins away by bus), I have wandered around the less visited areas of Ogimachi to take more pictures of the World Heritage site.

Gassho-zukuri farmhouse in Ogimachi

Kanda House in Ogimachi

A smaller Gassho-zukuri farmhouse

The Mask!!

A Gassho-zukuri farmhouse in Ogimachi

The Main Street of Ogimachi where you can find local delights

Some pile of timbers found at the front of a farmhouse

Wada House - The biggest farmhouse in Ogimachi, also being the Village Leader's House

The Wada family was one of the wealthiest in the village. They have been leaders of the Ogimachi village for generations and therefore, they have the largest house of the village. The house was often used as a meeting place to discuss village related matters among the villagers and have a big hall to keep many people in. It is now made a museum and visitors can enter the house with an entrance fees of 300yen.

Before leaving Shirakawago, I have used my tripod to take a self-portrait of myself standing in front of the landmark "Three Gassho-Zukuri Farmhouses of Shirakawago". To my surprise, not many tourists were aware about the location of this landmark as it is located at the southern end of the Ogimachi village. One have to walk a distance away from the main tourist areas of the village and pay attention to locate these three nicely positioned Gassho-zukuri farmhouses.

Self-portrait in front of the "Three Gassho-zukuri Farmhouses"

This will end my Shirakawago Ogimachi village coverage. Coming up next will be the other two smaller World Heritage sites - Suganuma and Ainokura. Both of these World Heritage sites were located about 30 minutes and 45 minutes bus ride respectively from Ogimachi village and are located on the Toyama Prefecture instead of the Gifu Prefecture where Ogimachi is located at.

I carry a fairly old Canon 50D camera that does not support video capturing. However, I have found this Shirakawago Ogimachi village video footage on YouTube that I would like to share here. This video will give you a good experience of this place and it also covers the interiors of these Gassho-zukuri farmhouses.

To visit the Part 1 of this World Heritage Shirakawago series, click here.

Update: To read World Heritage Part 3: Suganuma and Ainokura, click here.

I hope you enjoy reading this travel and photography article. Please share your thoughts in the comments section below and remember to recommend this article to your friends and family.

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