Japan Travel x Gifu Prefecture Promotional Assignment

Earlier this month I teamed up with the guys at Japan Travel to work on creating a set of images for Gifu Prefecture to use for material they will create helping promote the region as a tourist destination. Gifu, which is located fairly centrally in Japan is surrounded all sides by the country’s Chuo and Minami Alps, it’s an area that gets bitterly cold during the winter months and can see up to several meters of snowfall. This year, however, has seen Japan’s lowest snowfall since records began, so we were a little apprehensive as we headed to the region on a warm February morning…


Our first stop was at the popular and very beautiful village of Shirakawago, famous for its collection of thatched-roof houses, known as Gassho-zukuri. With very little snow on the way up, we weren’t entirely surprised (just a little disappointed) when we arrived and found exactly zero snow on the ground up in the village. The atmosphere here, however, is quite magical during any weather and in any season. We managed to get some nice shots of the village, with a lot of help from Lucy, our model for the trip.

As night fell the Gassho-zukuri houses lit up to create some beautiful scenes. It was a clear evening and the mountains behind the village remained visible for the entire night. Waking early the next morning to catch the morning mist didn’t disappoint either…

 

The following day we were treated to watch as local craftsmen went about repairing and replacing one of the thatched roofs. This is by no means an easy task, and this team of dedicated workers work tirelessly to keep the roofs of the houses in the village in tip-top condition all year round. It was interesting to watch them working up-close and hear about the process first-hand.

We were also granted permission to shoot inside one of the roofs of the houses, which was really fun, especially with the beautiful midday winter sun flooding in through one of the open windows…

Next up we made our way to the capital city of Gifu Prefecture – Takayama, which is located about an hour away by car. Here is Takayama we explored and photographed a local market as well as several historical districts of the town…

We finished our time in Takayama sampling local dishes at one of the town’s oldest and most revered restaurants. The area is famous for its high quality beef, and this was a great opportunity to not only shoot it, but also try it! We also had the opportunity to taste the local sake.

On our final night, which was spent up in Hirayu Onsen, the elusive snow finally showed up! Seeing the village blanketed in a fresh layer of the white stuff was just beautiful. A great way to end a fun assignment. You can keep up to date (in English) with the work the good people at Gifu Prefecture are involved in here.

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