The room here is beautiful with rice paper walls however, rice paper does not make for a very good curtain and the sun comes up around 4:15 here.
After pulling the window shades closed and removing every possible entry point for light, Brett tried to get some more sleep without much luck. Despite having reasonably good sleep for most of the trip, we have been getting up very early every day and we can't even blame the time zone difference as were only 30 minutes different to normal.
We were booked in to do a trip to Shirakawa-go which is an UNESCO-listed village with 300-hundred-year old, thatched-roof houses with only 140-odd people living there.
After a quick walk through the morning market, we wandered to the bus stop and took the hour-long trip to the first of the towns, Suganuma, where there were only 9 houses and about 30 people living. Very interesting place to see. The thatched roofs were about 60-70cm thick and last for about 80 years. The people traditionally lived on the ground floor and grew silk worms on the upper floors. The house fires would warm the house as well as dry out the thatch which helped maintain the houses.
We were able to wander through one of the houses and see many of the daily tools they used and how they managed to get by day to day.
We traveled to Shirakawa to have lunch and then wander through the larger village.
Because all the buildings have thatched roofs,they are paranoid about smoking and fires but have put a gravity-fed hydrant system in place in the event of a fire. No electricity required and very efficient.
The return home was followed by another look at the shops and then dinner at a fun little place around the corner from where we were staying called "Flame". We ordered a small selection of dishes and a couple of drinks and chatted with the owner for a while.
As we were eating, the waitress poured a beer and appeared to offer it to Brett, who politely declined. However, the waitress had another plan in mind and declared, "no, no, I drink beer. I like beer"! Judging by her personality, We suspected it wasn't the last beer she was going to have that night.
After returning to the Ryoken, we had a final spa before turning in for an early night.
Tomorrow we start the long journey home.
Random thought for the day: it is possible to have too much rice!
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