After viewing the beautiful village of Shirakawa-go at the observatory, we headed down as the sun was setting and it was getting dark. We could feel that the cold was catching up and we had to quickly head back to our ryokan and get ourselves heated. As mentioned earlier, we stayed at this beautiful and humble little home of Magoemon.
There, we were happily invited into the old lady’s home and she had set up our rooms very nicely and to our amazement, it was quite spacious. The tatami floor was so pleasant looking and by walking on it, made my feet felt so comfortable. The room included hot water, bags of tea, some cookies, an electronic heater and also traditional Japanese winter robes. The robes were absolutely warming and very comfy. After settling down and drying my socks at the heater, it was almost time for dinner. Our dinner was cooked in the huge common hall with a big black pot that looks like witch’s pot. The food were amazing and as I don’t want to spoil any surprises, I’m not going to share what we had for dinner. During dinner, the husband of the old lady quietly set up our futons in our rooms. After finishing up our dinner, our room was converted into a traditional japanese bedroom.
Outside, judging by the icicles hanging around the roof, the weather was freezing cold. No matter how freezing it was outside, the interior of our ryokan was very warm and comfortable. But don’t get too addicted to the warmth inside as you might miss out the fantastic and beautiful night scene of the village outside (which we kinda did). We regretted not leaving the house after dinner.
The bathroom was a traditional japanese one with a really good bathroom carpet. It had those small stools where you had to sit and bathe yourself. After a hot shower and good night’s rest, we woke up early at 6am for breakfast. Again, our breakfast was prepared by our lovely hosts. After breakfast, we still had some time to spare, so we borrowed the snow boots from the house and wandered out into the village.
After our brains woke up due the chills, we only noticed that it was Christmas! Fann and I greeted each other Merry Christmas with hugs and kisses because that’s what two idiots do. We were so happy because it was snowing and it really felt like Christmas, despite the horrendous cold. We walked around and took stupid pictures of each other. What do you do when you see tons of snow on the ground during Christmas? Well, it’s simple! SNOW ANGELS!
One tip for all, don’t be idiots like us. Turns out this whole pack of snow is covering what’s known to be the padi field. As I was taking this picture of Fann, the snow swallowed me into the padi field and my feet fell quite deep into the freezing padi waters. Fortunately, I managed to save my camera by lifting up my arms while I fell. After that, we walked back to the house to clean up my mess and then continued to walk around the main road to see and buy some stuff from the shops nearby. Don’t forget to bring back some souvenirs.
We bought ourselves some fridge magnets, miso sauce for the vegetables, weird looking chocolates, and this weird rice snack that looked delicious but wasn’t to our liking. The tranquil environment in the morning makes strolling here very romantic. One thing we found out, there were no tourists during this hour of the day! HURRAY!!!
We checked out of Magoemon by 12pm and said our goodbyes to the friendly old lady. Then we walked to the bus station across the bridge and waited for our bus back to the station. Well, to be honest, Shirakawa-go was my favourite place. Although we didn’t get to spend a lot of time there, it was one of the most memorable among the entire trip. Spending Christmas with Fann here was the most wonderful feeling yet. Hopefully we can visit again. Though it’s very costly to get there and to stay there, I think everything was worth it. The place is so surreal and so beautiful. Here are some of the remaining photos to remind us of how beautiful this place can be, enjoy!
You may download the village map in english by clicking here.