Gassho-zukuri farmhouses at Shirakawago

About Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-gō, formally Shirakawa-mura is a historic village in Gifu Prefecture. The Shirakawa-go and neighbouring Gokayama regions lie along the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains that span the Gifu to Toyama Prefectures.
Together with Gokayama in Toyama, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Ogimachi, Shirakawa-go’s largest village and main attraction, makes a good day trip from Takayama, or a stop on the bus journey between Takayama and Kanazawa. The best way to experience the town, however, is to stay overnight at one of the farmhouses, many of which now serve as minshuku.

  • Distinctive thatched farmhouses (gassho-zukuri)
  • Ogimachi Village
  • Farmhouse Stay


The village is famous for its farmhouses, which are built in a unique architectural style known as gasshō. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, as the farmhouses’ steep thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer.

The architectural style developed over many generations and is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms.


Something else which has brought fame to the village is the Japanese game series ‘Higurashi no Naku Koro ni’ (2002) and the anime series that followed. Although the village residents are not altogether thrilled that an anime series depicting high levels of violence was based on their village, it has brought the tourists nonetheless. A number of locations from the anime series can be visited in Shirakawa; the most popular site being the Hachiman Shrine, the place where Rika Furude met an unfortunate end, and also the major shrine of the village.

Practical information:

  • From Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen trains then from Nagoya to Takayama Station by JR Takayama trains and from Takayama-Nohi Bus Center to Shirakawago by bus (5h)
  • From Shin-Osaka Station to Nagoya Station by Shinkansen trains then from Nagoya to Takayama Station by JR Takayama trains and from Takayama-Nohi Bus Center to Shirakawago by bus (4h)


Shirakawa-go on our Google map

Our packages includes Shirakawa-go

Gassho-zukuri farmhouses, Shirakawa-go


Tour Japan taking in one of the country’s most important World Heritage Sites. Takayama’s streets of old wooden houses offer a glimpse of life in Japan’s bygone days. The highlight of Shirakawago are unique structures called Gassho-Zukuri, or “joined-hands” thatched farmhouses, many of which are well preserved and still used. At Gokayama, another World Heritage […]

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