Tag Archives: Gokayama

Snow Country Measures

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Life in the snow country of Japan

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Constant manual removal of snow from the rooftops

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Shoveling snow into the snow gutter (beside the lady)

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Plastic shovel for fluffy fresh snow while metal shovel for hard old snow

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Avalanche barriers

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More roadside avalanche barriers

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Like an irrigation system but its purpose is to de-ice this parking lot

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Roadside waterways for depositing and de-icing while shoveling snow. The waterways will then be used for rice paddy irrigation

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Houses with triangular roof so that the snow can easily slide off. Triangular roof also prevents thick accumulation of snow

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Man using snow scoop in Shirakawa-go

Cute Despite its Macho Function

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Takaoka

Only in Japan where an object that hides the sewer, or keeps you from falling into the hole, can be so cute despite its macho function.

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Osaka

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Kyoto

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Kyoto

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Hida-Takayama

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Shirakawa-go

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Ainokura in Gokayama Region

Edible Winter Ornamental Plant

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I have noted the presence of potted kale in various places in Japan this winter. From what I gather this vegetable is frost resistant and that is why it is pretty common at winter time though not for eating but for the beautification of their doorsteps.

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Ainokura Village

Ainokura is one among the three villages with gassho-style houses that was inscribed on the World Heritage List (two others are Shirakawa-go and Suganuma ).

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Ainokura is home to about 80 residents who are working together to preserve their priceless cultural properties. This village and the gassho-style inn where I stayed has now become my most favorite place outside Philippines.

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Map given to visitors

 

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Ainokura has 20 gassho-style houses

 

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Illustration of a gassho-style architecture

 

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The inn. I’d rather stay a night here than a thousand nights at The Peninsula Tokyo

 

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The walk to the bus stop on a snow covered road on the day I left the inn

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Ainokura bus stop

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Bus schedule

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Signage on the highway as seen from the bus stop

 

Of Japan’s Winter and Kerosene Heater

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To maximize the heat at the top, use it to warm some water

Kerosene heater is the most endearing winter necessity in Japan. It’s a pretty common space heating device in homes and shops other than the kotatsu.

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Most common kerosene heater design

Throughout my temple stay in Hida-Takayama and mountain village stay in Gokayama in Japan Alps, multiple kerosene heaters are the primary source of heat indoors where outside temperature ranges from -1°C to -7°C.

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Kerosene heater + kotatsu = Japan winter survival

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