It has gotten a lot colder, as snow has fallen during the night. Fortunately, the ground was warm enough to keep the road clear, but the roofs of houses and the trees show a 2-3 cm cover of snow.
We drive further along the winding roads, and around the afternoon reach Takayama, where once again roads leading into the town have been closed off. As we find a parking spot, once more we are given VIP treatment with our bikes, as we are told to move around the parking lot gate, and just park our bikes for free near the vending machines. From there, we head into town, and there the reason the roads were closed off becomes clear. The spring festival is in full swing, and we watch as priests from all the mayor temples around Takayama proceed towards the centre.
After taking a lot of pictures of this festival, and getting something to eat, we head back out onto the road again, so we can visit Shirakawago. We get quite close, but rounding a corner, we suddenly find ourselves face to face with more than twenty centimetres of snow, covering the entire road, left to right, as far as we can see it. Going over is no option, so after some puzzling with the GPS, we manage to find a long way around, that finally brings us to our final destination Gokayama. This village is part museum, part still being lived in, and here we have spend the night in a very nice minshuku, enjoying the traditional atmosphere of the house and food.
The woman who runs this place speaks Japanese slowly and clearly enough that finally I feel like I actually learned something from all the courses I followed, and that I'm actually able to bring some things across in Japanese.