In the remote mountains that range from Gifu to Toyama Prefectures, the Shirakawa-go (almost, Shirakawagō) and neighboring Gokayama (almost) areas line the Shogawa River Valley. They are renowned for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old, and were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer” as the steep thatched roofs of the farmhouses resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed in prayer together. Over many generations, the architectural style has developed and is designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow that falls during winter in the region. The roofs, which were constructed without nails, offered a wide attic.
Gassho-zukuri houses are the primary reason for visiting Shirakawago. With these regionally unique homes, there are whole villages filled. Literally, Gassho-zukuri means “built in prayer like hands” and comes from the fact that the roofs of the houses look like two hands coming together in prayer.
The Shirakawaga-go Tour was planned for the six of us friends. It’s a journey of two days. AHK Indonesia – Tur Lokal Jepang has a good deal for us. For bus ride, we have gone to Ikebukuro. The bus journey is pleasant and comfortable. On the way, we smashed jokes and teased. Bus stops for snacks and toilets in various places. We got Shirakawaga-go at last. It’s like a fairy tale in the film. It’s cold weather and snow is falling. It’s my first touch of snow and it’s good. We went back to the bus and went to our hotel.
Season (February – December). Winter is arguably the most recommended season for a Shirakawa-go Tour, because the design and construction of these ancient structures are deeply rooted in the cold temperature of the area and strongly related to the heavy snowfall.