The Historic Village of Shirakawa-go (白川郷) - UNESCO World Heritage Site

The historic village of Shirakawa-go (白川郷) is one of the UNESCO designated World Heritage Sites and is featured prominently on one of the many promotional brochures for tourists coming to Japan.

I went on this trip almost one year ago on Jan. 6, 2012 and the original purpose was to share a ride with a Japanese classmate who was going back to his hometown in Hyogo Prefecture (near Kobe) so I could go to the Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe) for sightseeing.

Since I had mostly visited most of the mainstream tourist attractions of Japan and I wanted to find some place "off the beaten track" to visit, I figured it would be convenient to combine my visit to the Kansai region with a trip to Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa.

The main attraction to Shirakawa-go are the traditional "gassho-zukuri" (合掌造り) farmhouses that were built hundreds of years ago in response to the snowy winters and the deep isolation from the rest of Japan.


Kyoto Arashiyama (嵐山)

The Arashiyama (嵐山) district is one of the most popular areas of Kyoto. It is located in the western end of Kyoto and looks spectacular in the spring when the cherry blossoms bloom or when the leaves change colour in the fall.

Unfortunately, during the 2 times that I visited Arashiyama, I missed both the optimum seasons to visit because of school commitments. The following is a complication of photos that I took during my visits in September 2010 and December 2011.

One of the main attractions in Arashiyama is this bamboo forest.


Bird's Eye Views from Tokyo-Hiroshima Flights

Due to 3 internships at 3 different times of the year and 1 field research in Tokyo, I have taken the flight from Tokyo Haneda to Hiroshima more times than any other route that I have previously flown. In total, I have this segment 8 times on both Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways including one time on one of the first Boeing 787s ever delivered.

There are various reasons why I choose to take the plane over taking the Shinkansen (high speed rail) and the main reason is cost. Shinkansen tickets are expensive (15,000 yen one way, $180~) and are never discounted while if you book airplane tickets more than 1 month in advance, the price can be as low as 11,000 yen, $133~.

The Shinkansen takes 4 hours from train station to train station and the flight takes 1.5 hours so if you add in access time, the time required is around the same.

The side benefit of taking the flight is that you get to see spectacular bird's eye views of Japan ^^

In this post, I complied the pictures I took from various flights that I had taken.