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Shirakawa-go and Takayama

'If you wantto understand today, you have tosearch yesterday', so Sydentricker Pearl Buck, novelist once said. This sentence brings Yudasmoro Minasiani to Shirakawa-go and Takayama in the north of Nagoya. Here he finds the values ​​that brought Japaninto one of the mostmodern nations.

Temperature outside begins to drop to 7 degrees Celsius. The cold weather outside the window seemed to touch the bus I was riding. The trip to Shirakawa-go is less than an hour because I enjoyed overlooking the beautiful hills PerfectureGifu, central Japan region. Soon I will arrive in Shirakawa-go, a traditional village is designated as world heritageby Uneso. In contrast to the visited villages in Indonesia, visited Shirakawa-go can be done very easily because there is a smooth access roads reach this region. Many public transportation through this place with the bus schedule that I see plastered on a public bus station. Although many groups of tourists who come by bus tourism, there is also the use of public transport to come here.

When getting off the bus, immediately drizzle greeted me along with the air temperature gets colder. Kyoko the guide immediately took me to the view point where visitors can see first hand view of Shirakawa-go from the top. I was immediately amazed by the panorama of a village with houses form a nearly equilateral triangle. The village is situated on a half-foot mountain was shrouded in fog as it was before the winter. Around it I can still see patches of rice fields and the cold air smothering of whom had seen the trees began to fall leaves. "The shape of the roof of the house means that the shape of praying hands," explained Kyoko. Distinctive style of house building is known as gassho-zukuri. In addition to symbolize praying hands, a triangular shape is also intended to avoid a pile of snow in the winter arrives. "(With a shape like this) that there is snow on the roof can be directly downward," said Kyoko again.

After being looked at from a distance with Kyoko village I walked towards the village of Shirakawa. Downhill for about 15 minutes, we welcome the calm atmosphere of this route because the vehicles are not allowed to pass. All the visitors and residents either have to walk here. This was contradictory to the prohibition of the Japanese title as one of the country's largest automobile manufacturers in the world. Around the countryside I saw a stretch of fertile land and a small river with crystal clear water flowing Ryohaku mountain backdrop, this beautiful rural surrounds. What an amazing harmony of nature! With the typical atmosphere of the highlands, complete with a natural forest that grows on the slopes, do not be surprised if some people dub this place as its Japanese Alps.

Located on the border between Gifu prefectures andToyama I, Shirakawa-go is presenting a magnificentpanorama. I feellike being in an ancientJapanese village, just as I have ever seen in the movie The LastSamurai, starring Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe. That day Idid not seethe warrior samurai or Japanese women wearingkimonos complete with accessories, but you'll enjoy the traditional atmospherethrough gassho houses made ​​me see another side of Japan that is now famous for its modernization.

Yes, Shirakawa village atmosphere andpresents a view of Japan's past. In this village there are about 160 houses, mostly hundreds of years old and in excellent condition. Some have convertedto support the tourismindustry which is one major source of income of this village. It's used as souvenir shops and inns, some are used as a museum.

One house I visited was the Wada House. To get inside, visitorsare required to open footwear, a wisdomthat Japan is still practiced by most people. Instead, housekeepers provide the typical Japanesewooden sandals towalk in the house. This house has an important role in the 18th and 19th centuries because once occupied by the village chiefShirakawa and somelocal officials. They say this house was also a weapons factory. WadaHouse now serves as a museum that shows the design, structure andsome of the original household items from the Edo period. Here I can still seethe silkworm farmsthat indicate that the first Shirakawa also famous for silk weavingbusiness. Be some furniture and kitchenappliances such as stoves, pots, steamer upthe old fireplaces framed by neatlyshows the typical atmosphere of the past. Kyoko again provide an explanation of the building thatwas hundreds of years old. He told me that theframework Wada Housedoes not use any nails. Everything is united by a knot tied with rope made ​​fromthe roots. Roof is also made ​​with wood and dry grass. With such natural materials, traditional houses would last for hundreds of years. This indicates a high technical capability andexpertise to recognize the power of nature, two things inthis modern centurycontinue to be developed by the Japanese community.

One of the uniqueness of Shirakawa-go is a different beauty in every season. In the summer of this traditional village looks green with flowers blooming in the house gassho. When autumn comes, the mountains around Shirakawa-go turns into a colorful as many trees leaf color changes to red and yellow. The atmosphere and color of the hills surrounding the village was changed as a colorful carpet. In winter, the white color that dominates the Shirakawa-go, making this area is so beautiful. At nightfall, the lights in this rural light reflecting on the white snow.

Finishing  complete to enjoy the beauty of the village of Shirakawa, then we continuethe trip to Takayama, a small townfamous for its oldstreet. In the 16 th century, founded the family Kanimori TakayamaCastle which marked the beginning of the era of thiscity's cultural development. The isolated position amongthe mountains to Takayamadeveloped into acolony by itself. Advance society dominated by the carpenters who worked in Kyoto to build a houseof worship. Now, as a characteristic of Takayama's old town where craftsmen still visible.

In the afternoon entered the Takayama I can still see the group of tourists, both local and foreign who enjoystrolling past Japan. Although the streets in the old town is as wide as the road toll but there is hardly a passing car. Unique as wellas for crossingthe road, I have to queue to wait for the crossinglight turns green. And then none of the passing vehicles. The spirit of disciplinethat is applied in everyday life of Japanese people is exemplary.

Kyoko then led me down the old street, a streetor rather an alley that is still packed with old buildings of wood. On either side of the road I could see the souvenir merchantsand sake (a Japanese alcoholbeverage) who peddletheir wares. Almost all the buildings on the streetis still using the old wood and oldJapanese style. Some stores also sell many souvenirs of woodraw material. Do not be surprised if here, asin other cities inGifu Perfecture, manysouvenirs sold in the form of cute monkey figure with no face. Called Sarubobo, local peoplebelieved the dolls as a good luck charm.

This road alsoprovides a variety of typical food Takayama issaying to miss. Culinary tourism in the city is not complete without sampling a typical snack Takayama, Goheimochi, that looks like ice creamwith a stick. Actually,rice cakes arebaked and then compactedand covered with sweetand salty flavor, sprinkled with a little peanut and usually enjoyedwith a bowl of miso. Not to forget, I am alsowaiting in line for a taste of miso (Japanese soup) for free. In the midst of the cold weather is the most deliciousdishes while tasting hot soup. Takayamahas become one of the tourists to a vacationdestination, especially due to the activity of skiingin the winter.

'This season seems to snow more quickly, "said Kyoko. Although Ihave not felt that night the snow, but I understand what is meant Kyoko. The air temperature was near zero degrees andI could not walk leisurely for more frequent coldair covered! Butcold weather does not seem to deter tourists andlocals to continue to move, seen from the number of people wandering around the old street. I spend the time leftto get around downtown that seems to have started quiet. Unlike big cities like Tokyo, Takayama is best suitedto serve resort town. In addition to the atmosphere is calm, the city also once night falls instantlysilent. There is no nightlife in this city. Even so on the main road, I still see shops brightly lit even though there was no buyer.
The next day, Kyoko invited me to visit the morning marketin downtown. Much like the market was surprised that often held in a residential area in Jakarta, morning market in Takayama also sell a variety of vegetables, fruits and a variety of basic needs. Some traders also held suvernir typical local area, including various types of dolls Sarubobo. Cultures of people who give priority to visible cleanliness of the market that looks neat and no one of them flies. That morning was a lot of tourists joined local residents to shop or just look around and take pictures. Location of market morning right in front of government house is really strategic. Apart from enjoying the atmosphere of a traditional market, I can take pictures in front of government house or Takayama djinnthat form the building as a traditional Japanese house.

Takayama Jinya existence began in 1692when the  Takayama ruled by TokugawaShogunate. In the past this building serves as a government office in the Edo period. In 1969 officially just startedbeing used as a museum. This building is oneof dozens of ancient buildings are still preserved. It's justwhen Japan grewinto a great nation because they are proven to really appreciate the history.

In addition to a variety of natural and cultural attractions, Takayama is also famous for its festivals. Takayama Matsuri festival is believed to be the local community has existed since the 16th century, including the three biggest festivals in Japan. Held twicea year every summerand autumn, the festivalfeatured processions complete with decorative karakuri ningyo or mechanical dollsare very interestingto watch.

Shirakawa-go and Takayama, presenting bothsides of the different traditional Japanese. Each has its noble values ​​and historicidentity that show the Japanese people the truth. Small towns are makingme feel at home for longer with the feel of the display of calm and I'm sure you too will feel the same when visiting theseinteresting places.

How To Get There

Shirakawa-go and Takayamaare located close together in central Japan. Both can be reached from Nagoyaand Tokyo. FromJakarta, the citycan be reached directly by using the airlines, among others: Garuda Indonesia(www.garudaindonesiaairways.com): Jakarta-Nagoya/Tokyo; Japan Airlines: New York-Tokyo; air asia(www.airasia.com): Jakarta-Kuala Lumpur-Tokyo.

How to Explore

There are several ways to reach out toShirakawa-go and Takayama. From Tokyo youcan use the JR Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya (100-120 minutes, a few trainsper hour) and then move to train JR Hildaeskpres to Takayama(140 minutes, one train every hour), then connected withNohi Bus (50 minutes, 8-9buses per day). Reached by public bus from Nagoya or Tokyo, while Takaynama can be reached by train from NagoyaJR Hida Express. From Nagoya Gifu bus there once a day to Shirakawa-go with the old 3-hour trip. Takayama alsocan be reached from Tokyo by bus. There are5-7 buses fromKeio Highway Bus Terminal inTokyo to Takayamaoperated by Keioand Nohi longbus trip with5.5 hours. Arriving in Shirakawa-go andTakayama you canget around by foot.

 JR tokaido shinkansen

Where to Stay

In order to explore the Shirakawa-go and Takayama with more flexibility, we encourage you to spend the night. Do not forget to look at sites like http://www.agoda.comto see the special offers that can save your expenditure, you know the Japanese are bleak tourist destination that requires an excessive expenditure or budget, because it was so high price of goods or services that are carved on the list price of goods or services they offer.

Toyota Shirakawa-go Eco Institute

Toyota Shirakawa-go Eco Institute,. With a location directly at the foot of Mount Hakusan, this house can be the most appropriate location to learn about the traditions of Japan as well as the latest technological know-based environment. 'Hotel-School' providesa fresh naturalenvironment for you to learn more about the environment. 323 Magari, Shirakwa-mura, Ono-gun, Shirakawa-go, Japan T. 501 5620 056769-6-1187 website: www.toyota.eco-inst.j

Oyado Koto No Yume Japanese Ryokan

Oyado Koto No Yume Japanese Ryokan or traditional hotel is one of the best in Takayama. Enjoy the atmosphere of the past with modern facilities, complete with a variety of trinkets local artisans works. Especially for women provided a wide selection of Japanese Yukata or Kimono that can be used submarines to stay here. 6-11, Hanasato-cho, Takayama, Gifu 506-0026 T. 0577-32-0427 website: http://www.kotoyume.com

 super hotel hida

Super Hotel Hida Takayama - Forselection of hotel deals, networks are alreadyreaching the Super Hotel Takayama canbe alternative. Locatedclose to JR Takayamastation, from thishotel you can access various parts of the cityincluding the Shirakawa-go with ease. 4-76, Tenmacho, Takayama-shi, Gifu. T. 0577-32-9000; http://www.superhoteljapan.com


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