Private and Custom Tour of Japan | Shirakawago and Kanazawa

Aug 17 | Evan | No Comments |

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After spending a great couple of days in Kamikochi, our private tour of Japan continued to Shirakawago and Kanazawa, by way of Takayama.  First up, we would stay the night in a gassho-zukuri which translates to built like praying hands for the triangle shaped roof that are suppose to look like a Buddhist monk’s hands as during prayer.

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There are a few of these small villages throughout Japan though the ones in this area are, largest to smallest, Shirakawago (Ogimachi), Gokayama (Ainokura) and Suganuma.  We spent time in all 3 and slept in one of these traditional grass huts in Ainokura.  As these villages have become world heritage sites, especially Shirakawago has become very popular and crowded during the day.  We were happy to stay in Gokayama which was much less crowded and allowed for better photography opportunities.   Of course like many places that get crowded, early in the morning is best to take photos if you can wake up!

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After a night in Gokayama, our tour of Japan continued to Kanazawa.  Since last Autumn, this was my third time visiting Kanazawa, going to Kanazawa with a private tour of Japan just a week or so earlier, and enjoying Fall leaves in Kanazawa in 2015.  Since the opening of the new Hokuriku Shinkansen in April of 2015, Kanazawa tourism has picked up quite a bit with easier access from Tokyo.

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Instead of staying in a hotel, we stayed 2 nights in Kanazawa in a machiya, a traditional style home.  If traveling with a small group or family, I think it’s a great experience a little what life is like in a traditional Japanese home.  In addition to checking out the DT Suzuki museum, 21st Century Art Museum and of course Kanazawa’s famous Kenrokuen, we spent some time with a Japanese certified guide that helped us plan a special and private meeting with one of the gardeners at Kenrokuen!  A trip to Kanazawa wouldn’t be complete without visiting the old samurai district, Nagamachi, and old geisha district, Higashi Chaya, so we made time to visit there as well!  Next up, a private experience with a Japanese sword smith and a flower arrangement class!

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2015 Fall Photo Tour of Japan | Kanazawa and Shirakawago

Jan 23 | Evan | No Comments |

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We stayed in Kanazawa for 3 nights for the 2015 Fall Photo Tour and while we spent a lot of time at Kenrokuen, there is plenty else to see and photograph in Kanazawa and a few great day trips you can make.  The first day trip we took was this Shirakawago, a village of traditional farmhouses in the remote mountains of Japan.  The historic villages of Shiragkawago and Gokayama are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are famous for the traditional architectural style of home known as gassho zukuri, which translates to praying hands construction.  Shirakawago Japan Photo Guide 030

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Recently, Shirakawago and Gokayama have become very popular with both foreign and Japanese tourists and it can be quite crowded during the day.  If your schedule allows it, staying in one of the traditional homes is a unique and usually recommend experience!  While you can expect lodgings amenities to be minimal, waking up early and walking around the area without the hoards of tourists is quite peaceful!

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This post has images created by and courtesy of Mami Yasui, thank you!

The 2015 Fall Photography Tour of Japan included Tokyo, Kanazawa, Shirakawago, Okayama, Hiroshima, Miyajima and Kyoto!  Interesting in joining your own escorted tour of Japan with Japan Photo Guide?  Contact us to get the planning of your trip to Japan started or join one of the group tours of Japan!