Shirakawa-go and Kanazawa

Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO World Heritage site. This farming village in the mountains contains over one hundred wooden houses with steeply pitched thatched roofs that resemble praying hands.  Some of the houses, called gassho houses, date from the Edo period.  The wooden structures are assembled using straw ropes and bindings made from Japanese witch hazel and without nails or iron clamps.  Re-thatching of a house requires the assistance of 150 volunteers from the village.  The thatch is made from Pampas Grass.  I show a few pictures including one of the interior of the Wada house which is now a museum.  After visiting this village we stopped at a Japanese Washi paper factory and had an opportunity to try our hand at making some post cards.  All the hard work was done for us but the postcards make a nice souvenir.  We continued on to Kanazawa.  On the way we seemed to be continually in tunnels.  One was 11 kms. long and is the longest vehicle tunnel in Japan.  The longest tunnel, which is used only by trains, is 56 kms. long and goes from the northern island of Hokkaido to the main island of Honshu.  We had at least one other 10 km. tunnel and many that were several kms. long.  In Kanazawa we did a short tour of some old Samurai houses (photos) before going to the hotel. The tile-roof yellow mud walls around the exterior are a feature of these houses.  Tomorrow we tour Kanazawa and then take the train for Nara.  Our main luggage is heading for Kyoto where we will see it late Wednesday.

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