World Heritage Site with 114 Gassho-zukuri Houses
The scenery of this gassho-zukuri settlement nestled deep in the mountains is known across the globe. Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995 alongside Gokayama in Toyama Prefecture, this location sees over 1.3 million visitors each year from both within Japan and from abroad. The gassho in gassho-zukuri refers to the shape of the thatched roofs, which are built at a steep incline in order to accommodate the region’s heavy snowfall and are thought to resemble the shape that is made when one’s hands are joined together in prayer, which is called gassho in Japanese (zukuri means “construction”). There are 114 of these gassho-zukuri buildings in Shirakawa-go, including the Wada House (an Important Cultural Property of the nation), folk museums, crafts shops, restaurants, and more. With the oldest buildings being over 300 years old, their awe-inspiring interiors are woven together by thick beams that support two or three-story lofts.
Scheduled buses bound for Shirakawa-go make regular departures from Nagoya Station, Takayama Station, Kanazawa Station, Takaoka Station, and Hirase Onsen.