Shirakawa-go is a village located in Gifu which is known for its historic farmhouses. These farmhouses are called “gassho-zukuri” and have lasted over 250 years. The name roughly means “built like hands clasped in prayer,” which refers to the sloped rooftops which resemble the hands of Buddhist monks during prayer. The structure of the farmhouses is beneficial during winter, as the slanted roof allows snow to fall down its side rather than piling up and weighing it down.
Ogimachi is the largest village in Shirakawa-go. The village is a great day trip to observe and learn more about the structure. Visitors can stay overnight at a “minshuku,” a family-run Japanese bed and breakfast. There are other attractions in the area such as the open-air museum where some of the buildings were moved to preserve their architecture. If you cannot visit during the winter, the other seasons still provide beautiful scenery. Spring offers cherry blossoms, summer has bright yellow sunflowers and bright greenery, and autumn features a sea of vividly colored trees.