Our last day in the area, we traveled an hour to Shirakawa-go and the village of Ogimachi, an historic village that is preserved in the traditional look and construction of the Kiritsuma-Gassho-zukuri style of houses. These houses are constructed to withstand enormous loads of snow and high winds that are prevalent in the high mountain valleys of the Japanese Alps.
I found myself drawn to the way that the houses seemed to fit into their environment so well and how they looked like they simply belong in that valley. The textures and shapes of these buildings coupled with the muted color pallet and all the dead rice stalks really made the decision to shoot in black and white largely a no-brainer. I used effects meant to simulate a couple of different film stocks that I used in the past, all designed on Nik software and implemented in Aperture. Some of the selective colors that show well from these photos are the red/orange of the ripe persimmon and the reds of dried pods in the attic of one farm house.
The interiors of the houses were quite neat as well with the way that the beams were tied and slotted together with a total lack of nails, but it was so dark and I didn’t have my tripod on me that I wasn’t able to really get any good shots from the inside. We were able to spend most of the day there and only shot back towards Takayama when we realized that there was very little food to be had in that tourist trap and we hadn’t eaten lunch!
This was by far the coolest architecture we encountered on our trip and it’s interesting to me that prior to planning the honeymoon, neither Toni nor I had ever even imagined that something like it existed so close to us.
In keeping with the weather trends during this part of the trip, it rained, snowed and was briefly sunny for our visit, while being everything from frigidly cold to too warm for jackets.
Here are some of my favorites: