In fact, it snowed while we visited. The big fluffy snowflakes falling gently to the ground made the village seem even more charming. But it wasn't particularly cold -- only about -1℃ (30℉).
The wooden buildings of Shirakawa-go all have thickly thatched roofs in a steep A-frame architectural style which was developed over generations. The roofs are designed to withstand the large amounts of heavy snow which the region receives. Here's a shot of the roof thatching method, which is done completely without the use of nails:
This roofing style is called gassho-sukuri which means "constructed like hands in prayer." It is thought that the steep roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressed together while praying.
Traditionally, the second floor of each house was dedicated to silkworm farming. The family would live downstairs.
Tomorrow: A couple of surprises in the village!
[All photos by Debra She Who Seeks]