The Dead of Winter in the Japanese Alps

One of fav part of travel and travel writing is the great folks you come across on highways and byways, both real and virtual.  We would like to introduce you to our new found friends: Lori and Andrew.  These two are incredible!  Just check out the pics on their site, aren’t they amazing?  With the turmoil in Japan, a place we have yet to visit, we asked them to share with us their recent trip into the Japanese Alps.  Enjoy!  And visit their site!  The Unframed World.

Living in Japan, Lori (my fiance) and I (this is Andrew) have had multiple adventures around South East Asia. Some highlights include a beach hut resort in Indonesia, 10 days in Singapore, and an end to end whirlwind tour of Korea. As our bucket lists have been slowly growing smaller, suddenly other items start appearing. For me, the Japanese Alps have always been somewhat untouchable in my imagination. After reading a brief article in the Japan Times about a traditional looking town in the Hida Mountain range called Takayama famed for being a snowy Alps escape. I was sold.

Lori generally plans our weekend excursions within Japan so I’ll let her take the helm at this point –

I (Lori here ^-^) wanted to get a good ticket price and often if you ask at the train station counters there are deals on train tickets available. Thankfully this was the case here for our trip to Takyama. We rode the rails from Kitakyushu to Takayama by bullet train to Nagoya and then an express train up to Takayama and ended up getting a decent price because of the promotion. Once in Takayam we headed straight to nearby Shirakawa Village (I’m a sucker for UNESCO World Heritage sites) by bus and had a lovely time walking around in the snow and admiring the snow blanketed traditional farmhouses called “gasho zukkuri.” I found it interesting that they don’t use any nails and they shape not only distributes the weight of the snow well but also is modeled after a Buddhist monk’s hands in prayer.


-Re-Enter Andrew-

One reason I love Lori is because she always takes time to read the free literature about the places we visit. Although I want to know about where I am, I usually give in to the urge to snap several hundred pictures too many. We have found a good dynamic in this regard because she likes to share what she learned but doesn’t take many photos and I am an attentive listener and document the trip thoroughly.

After the wonderful experience in Shirakawa Village we roamed around picturesque Takayama for the rest of the weekend. Stand outs for me were the Miyagawa Morning Market and the well preserved old district called Sanmachi.

On our return, we managed in a quick stop in Nagoya to tour the famous castle there. Again, all part of Lori’s genius weekend planning.

We hope you enjoy the photos from our trip! There’s loads more from this trip and many others at our daily updated travel photo blog The Unframed World. Come check it out and say hi!

INTERESTING SIDENOTE: Lori and Andrew will soon be apart for several months soon as Andrew and two other adventurers embark on an end to end tour of Japan by Bicycle starting April 14th. It’s a charity fund raiser. Learn more and get involved here!

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7 Responses to The Dead of Winter in the Japanese Alps

  1. Misty Marston April 2, 2011 at 3:38 am #

    Wow. I guess I can live vicariously through you and Lori…where did you get your adventurous spirit? This looks like an awesome weekend. Thanks for all the pictures and info, nephew. Andy and Lori , you rock! xxoo
    Aunt Misty and Uncle Ken

  2. Lori & Andrew - The Unframed World April 2, 2011 at 4:19 am #

    Thanks so much for the opportunity to guest post! Looks great! We hope to be featured on your site again sometime. ^-^
    Lori & Andrew

  3. becca April 2, 2011 at 5:41 am #

    What fun! Sounds like a great vacation! I enjoyed reading about your adventure and look forward to hearing about your next adventures. :)

    p.s. I’m curious to know what Lori is holding in the picture above.

  4. nick April 2, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Things to like about Andrew Marston:

    1. His dapper good looks
    2. His skills with a camera
    3. His beard
    4. His genuine love of life.
    5. His awesome website

  5. admin April 2, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Aren’t the pics amazing!

  6. Jonnie Brobst April 3, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    This article could also be featured in 1000 Couples You Must Meet.

  7. admin April 3, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    True! They look like they have blast traveling. No mention of fights?