Shirakawa-gō (in Japanese 白 川 郷, the village of White River) is a village in central Japan in Shokawa Valley, north of the city of Nagoya (名古屋) in northern Gifu prefecture.
World Heritage of Humanity (see Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama) Shirakawa-gō and the village of Gokayama (五 箇 山) are best known for their typical houses in which were bred silkworms. This architectural style called gassho-zukuri (in Japanese, 合掌 造 り, building the palms clasped) designates the houses steeply pitched roof to withstand very heavy snowfall in this mountainous region.
Inside the houses, silkworms were brought upstairs which was heated by fireplaces placed on the ground floor. The heat also possible to preserve the stubble dry. This specific roof requires some acrobatics to change his straw and outgoing beams ridge allow crafters to hold on while working on the roof.
Shirakawa-gō consists of three main hamlets: Ogimachi, Suganuma and Ainokura. Ogimachi with 59 gassho-zukuri is the largest village of the three. Suganama has nine gassho and Ainokura opens two gassho visitors.
The village is today a tourist attraction visited by about 1.5 million people per year, which is certainly worth the trip. In Ogimachi houses you can visit ‘Wada’ and ‘Nagase’. The road is the only access way to the village of Shirakawa.
This is the village that inspired one of Hinamizawa in the visual novel Higurashi no naku koro ni, also known under the title “The sob of cicadas.” Most of the buildings described in Visual novel really exists, as the temple of the goddess Yashiro.
Tokyo---Nagoya 2hrs.(Railway) Nagoya---Takayama 2hrs.(Railway) Takayama-Shirakawa-go 50min.(Expressway shuttle bus)shirakawa-go.org