In spring, the buildings with the “praying hands” roofs in Shirakawago hold a special beauty. No longer covered in snow, they are surrounded by fresh greenery and newly sprouting rice.
I have been to Shirakawago two times. Once in the winter, and once in May during Golden week. The second time I went by bus from Nagoya. It is in Gifu prefecture and takes about three hours.
In May it was busier than when I went in March. However, it still doesn’t feel like a bustling tourist destination. It is a bit off the main tourist route and maybe less well known. In the spring, the Shokawa River flows stronger as you cross the bridge into the main village.
The group of people that I was with (my Japanese language classmates) quickly split into groups, and I was on my own. Loner alert.
I walk through the village at my own leisure, stopping for rice cakes and to watch the fish when I pleased. This is the time of year that the rice is just starting to pop out of the water-filled paddies. In the winter, you can’t tell that the snowy ground hides rice paddies. Now I can see how much of the space was dedicated to growing rice. I always like to see the baby rice sprouting in the water.
I spent the next couple hours walking into different buildings and shops and finally walking up the hill to get the birds-eye view. It looked much different than it did two months ago. Before it is all browns and whites, with snowy sloped roofs. Now it is a sea of green, scattered with brown buildings. The water-filled rice paddies glisten in the afternoon sun, and I image what it must look like in the fall, just before harvest, when the rice is gold. I should try and see it someday.
After coming back down the hill and through the town, I spent the rest of the time on the rocky banks of the river away from the crowds, waiting until it was time to leave.
Initially I had thought that I didn’t need to go to the same tourist destination twice in Japan. But after seeing it the second time in a different season, I can say that it was worth it. It is arguably more beautiful in the spring, and you can see what has been hiding under the snow.
These are a few highlights of my second trip to Shirakawago.
Do you think Shirakawago is beautiful in the Spring? Leave your comments below!
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