We were not sure if they were only removing the snow but also using salt to melt the snow on the streets. However, on the main street we saw that they seemed to melt the snow or ice with water coming out of openings in the middle of the road. Researching it, I found out that the sprinklers eject warm ground water. Great idea!
Still, we went to get our rented car, made sure it had snow tires on, added the best insurance to our booking and off we went. Our initial plan was to drive to the most northern point of the island. Normally a 3-hour-drive but with the prevailing conditions probably much longer. So we opted for a closer destination: the Takayama Inari Shrine.
The drive was tiring but very worth it. The shrine was beautiful and we had it to ourselves.