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Shirakawa, Japan

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Shirakawa-gō is a historic village in Gifu. Together with Gokayama in Toyama, it was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site on December 9, 1995.

The village is famous for its farmhouses, which are built in a unique architectural style known as gasshō (合掌). The name means “hands together” as in prayer, referring to the steep roofs that keep the snow off in the winter. Underneath the roofs, the large attic area was used to house silkworms.

Another feature that has brought fame to the village is the recent Japanese game series ‘Higurashi no Naku Koro ni’ (2002) and the anime series that followed. Although the village residents are not too altogether thrilled that an anime series depicting large levels of violence has based itself on their village, it has brought the tourists nonetheless. A number of locations from the anime series can be visited in Shirakawa; the most prevalent site being the Hachiman Shrine, the site where the shrine maiden Rika Furude met an unfortunate end and also the major shrine of the village.

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An image from Shirakawa, Japan

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