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The Shirakawa-go region lines the Shogawa River Valley in the remote mountains between Takayama and Kanazawa. Declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995, they are best known and famous for their traditional farmhouses in the thatched-roof, A-frame style called ‘Gassho-zukuri”, some of which are more than 250 years old. 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 these houses were built to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls in the region of Japan receives during winter, and more amazingly, they are built without any nails. These roofs provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms. 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, or Japanese style bed and breakfast-like inns. A number of farmhouses from the surrounding villages have been relocated to an open air museum across the river from the town center in an effort to save them from destruction. This museum along with the large concentration of farmhouses and attractions in town and the area's accessibility make Ogimachi the best place in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama to see gassho-zukuri farmhouses.
Take a stroll among the thatched-roof houses unique to the area by joining any of our Takayama or Takayama Festival tours.
Takayama Festival-One of the Most Beautiful Festivals in Japan
Japanese Major World Heritage Site
The Historic Village of GOKAYAMA
Beautifully Preserved with Old Homes in Takayama