Things To Do in Shirakawa Japan

August 23, 2012 · 8 comments

Shirakawa was my local village for 7 months when I worked in Japan on a working holiday visa. It is in Fukushima (officially called Shirakawa-shi) and not to be confused with Shirakawa-mure which is in Gifu and is a much more beautiful place to visit! Although I lived up a mountain so trips to the town were limited to my days off work (mostly to get food supplies for the week), there are a few attractions to see while you’re there. It has a small local train stop called Shirakawa station and a major stop on the Shinkansen Tohoku line called Shin-Shirakawa, so it is easy to get too. There is usually taxies to find on both sides of this station and rental car places in case you need to get around.

Shirakawa

Some love for Shirakawa

It’s not somewhere I’d recommend visiting if you’re a tourist in Japan purely because there isn’t much to do here. In fact you’re probably only reading this article if you work for the company I used to work for British Hills where they teach English and are a hotel based on a British Village.

Anyway, onto the attractions:

Shirakawa Castle

Shirakawa castle

Shirakawa Castle

Shirakawa castle’s true name is Komine castle, but I didn’t meet anyone who called it that. Like most areas surrounded by garden in Japan, it’s most beautiful during Cherry Blossom season. It’s a traditionally constructed and looking Japanese castle and was used originally as a security check point for travellers across the Tohoku region. It was controlled by various sides over the years and has been ruined and reconstructed several times mostly in power battles. The most recent destruction however was in 2011 when the great Tohoku earthquake hit. Below is a photo I took of one of the corners of the castle walls which was destroyed during the quake:

March 2011 earthquake damage to castle

Damage to Shirakawa castle

The gardens surrounding Shirakawa castle are an attraction in itself too (well for Shirakawa anyway). It includes a small museum. By small, I mean it’s 2 rooms about 8 metres squared each which features history of the castle and local area including artwork, such as the below which I shamelessly took a photo of. It is all in Japanese with no English translation anywhere

Shirakawa museum

Shirakawa museum artwork

Lake Nanko

Lake Nanko Shirakawa

Lake Nanko in Shirakawa

Lake Nanko is the opposite side of Shirakawa to Shirakawa castle, it takes around 45 minutes to walk between them. You can get green tea served in the local shop which is recommended. It’s very picturesque and it’s best season is Autumn when the red and yellow colours come out to decorate the landscape. It’s a great place to have a picnic with friends too.

Black Shop

Black shop is a Japanese geeks paradise. Unfortunately I can’t find a photo of the outside, even though I’m sure I took one at some point. But basically it’s a detached square building which is entirely black on the outside, covered in yellow text saying what’s inside (manga, DVDs, Playstation games, etc). Inside contains all of those as well as an extensive second hand clothing section, retro games, figures, watches, snowboards, instruments, etc. It’s all second hand so they buy as well as sell. But if you have any interest in Japanese entertainment, this place is a must go, it’s one of the biggest stores of its type I’ve come across in Japan, which is odd it being in Shirakawa. Here is an example of one of the things I’ve seen inside:

Sony PSX

Sony PSX

The 100 yen shops are entertaining at first too, and there are plenty of options on places to eat, especially ramen.¬†Feel free to leave comments on anything else to do in Shirakawa as I think I’ve run out of ideas now!

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley August 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM

I think if I go in this place I would buy psp because I heard that a lot of gadget in Japan is really nice..

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AdventureRob August 28, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Well Black shop would be a great place to get one of them, a lot of second hand options (all generations) and virtually all games ever released on it.

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Kathleen August 31, 2012 at 12:53 PM

If I visit japan I think I should some new gadget because its nice and fun having some shopping…

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Josh September 2, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Hi AdventureRob,

Just wanted to tell you how much I have been enjoying your blog. I am brand new to blogging and have no idea what I am doing. I am a husband, dad, and business owner who loves to travel and experience as much of life as possible. My blog is dedicated to finding a way to do all of this well. Do you have any tips or advice for a noob like me? I’d be so grateful for any insight you have. Thanks!

Josh
From the BlinkPack blog

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AdventureRob September 3, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Hi Josh,

Thanks very much! From the looks of things, you’ve got your blog up and running now, the rest is just keeping it updated!

This in itself will draw attention as you go through the journey of making it happen.

These days I update this blog as and when I can, sometimes that will be 3 times a week, but recently it’s been once every 2 weeks due to study commitments I currently have. Don’t get into a habit of posting daily, as long term it will wear you out. You can write daily, but delay the posts so it’s spread out. Plus no-one visits personal blogs every day as it gets tiring to read and keep up.

As for being a husband, dad, business owner and a blogger – I don’t know! I’ve only just become a husband myself and the blog is the business. Being a dad has a lot more demands though so it’s tighter for you to fit everything in. My first suggestion if you’re short on time is to outsource as much of the business as possible. Time Ferriss has a book called the four hour work week which gives advice on how to do this. You’ll find a lot of successful bloggers base themselves on his work these days.

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kentaro September 4, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Hi, Rob.

I have been to Shirakwa, 2 years ago.
I went to driving school at there and sightseeing on holiday.

I think there’s a good place in Japan ,too.

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AdventureRob September 4, 2012 at 9:54 PM

Thanks for the comment Kentaro!

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Accommodation Milan September 21, 2012 at 10:30 AM

If you want to make your trip memorable then you needs to go Japan which you had done. Truly awesome place which I had never seen before. Thanks for sharing such a nice information with us.

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