Shirakawa-go (Shirakawa Village)

Gifu Prefecture

Shirakawa is a small traditional village with gassho-zukuri ("like hands in prayer") farmhouses, some of which are more than 250 years old. The farmhouses' thatched roofs are said to resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together in prayer. Their steep pitch is designed to withstand the large amount of heavy snow that falls in the region during winter. The roofs, made without nails, provided a large attic space used for cultivating silkworms.

The photos seen here, taken from the Observation Point with Mt. Haku in the background, contrast a winter scene with its blanket of snow to a view of the golden rice fields in September.