On Saturday, I had signed myself up for a tour to the only two places in Gifu-ken that I saw recommended regularly online: Takayama and Shirakawa-go.  Takayama is a pretty, old town and Shirakawa-go is Unesco World Heritage Site.  My friend Beth had gone a few year’s early and I remembered how much she loved it, so it seemed like a good place to check out.  The easiest way to get to these two places was via a guided tour.  I also figured that a tour would help give me some sort of historical/cultural context for what I was seeing.

I was up bright and early for the 7:20 am meeting time, but I had some trouble finding the meeting point.  Thankfully, I spotted another foreigner waiting for the tour and was able to ask for his help.  Unfortunately, he was from Glasgow.  I only say unfortunately because I have a notoriously hard time understanding the Glaswegian accent.  When I was studying in Scotland, my friends had to translate for me.  Now the problem is even worse because my brain seems to assume that any thick accent is Japanese and when it doesn’t make sense, my brain doesn’t know how to cope.  Eventually I was able to figure it out and got checked in.

The tour itself was…well, the transportation was really convenient.  The guide part of the tour was lacking/ non-existent.  She was mostly just there to tell us when to get on and off the bus.  That was disappointing.  As a result, I ended up just wandering around taking pictures of stuff without really knowing why it was significant.  I’ll have to do some research on it so I can contextualize what I saw.  Overall, it was a lot of time on the bus, but with enough breaks that only the last leg felt truly unbearable.

The upside is that I got some really nice pictures and I can finally say I’ve been to Gifu Prefecture, making that my 27th prefecture.

Our second stop was Shirakawa-go which is famous for it’s houses.  The houses were built in such a way to deal with both the extreme snowfall in the winter and the extreme in whatever season is known for that.


I didn’t get back to the hotel until around 8 that night, but I think for the busses and meal alone it was money well spent.


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