Tag Archive for shirakawa

#POTW 27Jan 2014 Snow and mountains

This Photo of the Week is very simple. For most expats and tourists their idea of Japan at this time of year can be summed up in this simple equation:

Winter = Snow + Mountains

The number one group of tourists to Japan in this time is apparently Australian skiers, who apparently flock to Hokkaido. I’ve not been anywhere near that far north, but this is as far north of Japan I’ve been so far, and it’s still a water freezing, bone chilling -10° Celsius, it’s Shirakawa, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For this mountain + snow photo, and others like it, see my PhotoShelter portfolio, and my agent’s website.

#POTW 6Jan 2014 UNESCO Shirakawa town

This is the first Photo of the Week for 2014, so it’s only fitting to look at what’s up in Japan now… snow! Shirakawa town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is in the Gifu mountains, and is pretty guarranteed to get lots of snow. The town is in fact a collection of rural houses moved to this location to help centralise and maintain a traditional architectural style, and also to maintain the culture required to re-thatch the roofs every 20 years. This photo was taken on film, and the others in the Shirakawa Gallery of my PhotoShelter portfolio were taken on a mix of film and digital.

POTW: 7th Nov, 2011 Winter in Shirakawa

This Photo of the Week (POTW) comes from the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Shirakawa. This village is well known for being the place where traditional mountain rural farm houses were moved to and maintained. The thatch roofs are massive, and requires a team of a lot more than 50 people to help build. These thatch roofs need replacing about every twenty years and it is a real community project. My guess is that they plan whose house is to be done next, and they would probably have all the houses on a roster. Shirakawa is a living open are museum. People live in the houses, these houses are real shops and museums, and private homes. The village is great to stroll around in the day, and very nicely lit up at night (as seen below). I do have photos of the whole village at my PhotoShelter portfolio, please browse for more.

Photo of the week, 10 Oct

Wow, I never knew how addictive Google+ could be. I joined in the time when it was invite only (thanks to Adobe Express on Twitter for the invite), and since G+ went public… wow! Consequently I missed last weeks POTW.

This photo was taken in Shirakawa, a mountain village listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site. It features old style large farm houses with thatched roofs. The village opens only a few times during winter where they set up flood lights to allow people to see the houses at night, making the whole place look like a Christmas card. More Shirakawa photos can be seen at my PhotoShelter portfolio.


Shirakawa is a small village in the Japan Alps, and is protected as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. I arrived with two friends to find the place in constant snow, and it got heavier by dusk. It’s an amazing place to experience. I spent several winters wondering how to get there, as most Japanese people seemed to believe that it was snowed in for the entire winter. In contrast, the village organises a series of light ups for tourists to come in and view the village. The day I was there, the day time high was two degrees Celsius (a shade above freezing), to minus six below freezing.

Shirakawa, Japan – Images by Andrew Blyth