Shirakawago is a village tucked away between the foot of Mt. Hakusan in northwestern Gifu Prefecture and Gokayama Village in Toyama prefecture. The historic Village of Shirakawago and Gokayama were listed as UNESCO world heritage sites in 1995 and are famous for their thatched roofed buildings: the Gasho-zukuri farmhouses. Gassho-zukuri farmhouses resemble palms placed together in prayer and are said to have been designed to make it easy for snow to slide off, because this area receives such heavy snowfall in the winter. At this time the houses are especially idyllic especially when viewed from one of the nearby vantage points and there are a few days when the villages are illuminated at night, making it even more picture perfect.
An increasingly popular way of experiencing the village is through an overnight stay at one of the farmhouses that are modern but have a pleasant and rustic atmosphere. During your stay you will be served dinner and breakfast consisting of local dishes, sometimes cooked on an ‘irori’ a kind of open Japanese fireplace. Shirakawago is a great location to visit, especially if you were intending to visit northern Japan, particularly Kanazawa or Takayama.