Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Shirakawa-Go and Hida Furukawa

In the morning we went to Shirakawa Go to see the Gassho Zukuri Houses. It was about an hour by car from Takayama and hard to get to by public transport so we took a tour run by the hostel. The houses are all hand lashed with no nails. They need to be re-thatched every 30 years or so. The biggest fear up there is fire so each year they have a fire drill and test the fire hoses.
Top photos are the Gassho Zukuri houses. In the middle - A digger kept nice and cosy with it's own patchwork quilt.
The bottom photo is silk worm cocoons up on the top floor of the Gassho houses. Silkworms provided an income when the weather was bad outside. It is also hard to grow crops in that area with a short summer and poor stony soil. It was obvious that the lifestyle must have been pretty dire up there in winter.  Deep snow outside and hard to keep the giant houses warm.

In the evening we went to Hida Furukawa which is close to Takayama, to see the festival.
Tall festival floats are towed around the old streets of the town.

Above - My son Chris who took many of the photos and now it is hard to work out who is winning the cherry blossom classic photo competition because we can't member who took what, as we were both fighting over the big digital camera.

Everyone from the town seemed to be involved somehow with this parade.
Including the teenagers and older guys who look like they have seen it all before.

Towards the evening, groups of young men started gathering, dressed in these white outfits. They started imbibing rather a lot of sake.

Which led to acrobatic feats at the end of what looked like a large cotton bud.

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