It is still September 15, 2012 and we are still on the move. Our guide was hoping to show us many more sights in the Aizuwakamatsu area, but the light is beginning to fail. We could have stayed overnight, but Japanese farmers must look after things at least twice a day, early morning and evening.
Villages such as this are becoming very rare. Even here a few of the buildings have metal roofs. Probably there has been public financial input to maintain the thatched roofs. I suspect the expertise required is not as common as it once was.
We were fortunate to be able to see this place. It was fascinating the way the street curved as we approached the mountain in the background. Every few steps the view would change. Most of the homes, restaurants and other businesses (tourist town) were closed for the day, but we were able to appreciate the beauty and quiet of the street as the sun was setting.
One of the unique features of this street was that the ubiquitous ditches seen in Japan to drain excess water was being used for more than irrigation. People would dam the water and use the cool deep water to refrigerate vegetables and other items.
I also noticed the absence of television antennae on all of the buildings.
The public address tower seen in one the Picasa photographs is a common feature of rural communities. These towers used to be used to announce the presence of a fire by means of a bell at the top. Today I suspect this tower is used to make announcements to the whole village. And possibly as in our village of Komatsuka at 12 noon and 5 pm music is played to indicate lunch time or the end of the working day for the poor 'peasants' out in the "hatake" or farmer's field.
Click on Ohuchi Juku Thatched Roof Village to see photographs on Picasa.