5. Sample Village Iwasaki
Are you ever fascinated with the very life like food display in Japanese restaurants around the world? Know that they came from the little place in Gifu called Sample Village Iwasaki. And if you want to try your hands at making them, you can do so here. I got to make my own sample of take out tempura and cabbage.
The souvenir shop sells all sorts of sushi souvenirs. It also has displays of giant samples used in malls and restaurants.
6. Takayama Village during Takayama Festival
Takayama City is a beautiful village in a hidden valley of Gifu Prefecture. The historic district is lined with wooden houses that dates back to the Edo Period. Walking though the narrow streets gives one a feel of being back in time. Except it’s now touristy and street is filled with souvenir shops. During the morning, food stalls lined the whole street featuring food from all over Japan.
The city is famed for its biannual Takayama Festival: the Takayama Spring and Autumn Festival which features street procession, marionette performances, and yatai parade. The 2 Takayama festivals are among the most famous festivals in Japan, together with Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri which I had witnessed by chance a few years ago.
And how lucky that our visit was during the Takayama Autumn Festival. We arrive early to catch the Yatai lined up on the street near the shrine. They’re preparing for the parade later in the day.
7. Shirakawa-go Village
Shirakawa-go Village is an isolated village surrounded by mountain. It’s a well preserved traditional village and has been inscribed as UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
The village is most identified by its Gassho houses. “Gassho” means joining 2 hands in prayer. The shape of the roofs is designed to endure heavy snow it gets during winter. Winter in Shirakawa-go is famous for its picture-perfect-straight-out-of-a-Christmas-card-with-snow-covered-roofs scenery. I’m happy to visit during autumn as it is still very beautiful. I am able to walk around the village to admire the beautiful houses, which would be impossible for me during winter, because I’ll be dead.
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