Taira ( Taira?) is a small village of about 1,200 people located in southern Toyama Prefecture. It is famous for the Ainokura Gassho Village, a World Heritage site, part of the Historic Villages of Shirakawa and Gokayama.

Taira is located in the middle of a whole phalanx of mountains that only get more impressive the deeper you go into them. If you're going by bus, there are literally 4 going there and 4 coming back each day, each about 2 hours apart and starting at 9am ending at 4pm, so good luck getting up (or down) that mountain if you miss them. Getting to Taira from Johana takes about 30 minutes and involves going through two mountain tunnels, Gokayama Tunnel (which is the second longest mountain tunnel in Japan!) and another, shorter, lonelier tunnel distinguished solely by the fact that it is not Gokayama Tunnel. I call it Charlie.

Taira is incredibly scenic, like, super goddamn pretty. All the roads are carved into the mountainsides and all the mountainsides are pretty much sheer cliffs. There is literally one stoplight in the entire place. Summer is beautiful, if covered in spiders, autumn sees the entire mountainside just go up in flame with colour, and winter is...special. Hokkuriku special. Spring melt is gorgeous, though, and turns the river a sort of translucent milky-green, like expensive jade. I suggest a wide-angle lens, if you've got one.

Taira is famous for its firm tofu and its teahouses. So come visit lovely Kami-Taira! It is filled with friendly people and the occasional bear.

Local knowledge

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