Shirakawa, Ono District, Gifu Prefecture, Japan
The gassho-zukuri houses of Shirakawa-go, JapanWe visited the Unesco heritage site of Shirakawa-go when we went to Takayama. This little village is set deep in the northern alps of Japan. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, due to the traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. The little town of Ogimachi is where you will see many of these unique houses.
The term for these distinctive houses means, “constructed like hands in prayer”. This is in reference to how the Buddhist monks hold their hands to pray. The gassho-zukuri farmhouses are also built like this to withstand the enormous amount of snow that falls there. We visited in early October and it was really coming down very heavily and extremely cold.
Shirakawa-go was used as the model for the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni game show and subsequent anime series. This has bought even more visitors the village, and not one that the villagers are thrilled about.