Villages of Shirakawa-gō

Villages of Shirakawa-gō is one of Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The site is located in the Shogawa river valley stretching across the border of Gifu and Toyama Prefectures in central Japan. Shirakawa-gō ("White River Old-District") is located in the village of Shirakawa in Gifu Prefecture. The Gokayama ("Five Mountains") area is divided between the former villages of Kamitaira and Taira in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture.
These villages are well known for their houses constructed in the architectural style known as gasshō-zukuri. The Gasshō-zukuri, "prayer-hands construction" style is characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof resembling two hands joined in prayer. The design is exceptionally strong and, in combination with the unique properties of the thatching, allow the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region's heavy snowfalls in winter.
Access: Super express train from Tokyo to Gifu, then to Takayama by train. Between Takayama and Shirakawa-go Nohi Bus operates hourly buses.


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