Shirakawa village in the northwest part of Gifu prefecture is literally frozen in time thanks to its designation as a UNESCO World Heritage site. The houses of the village are built in a traditional gasshō-zukuri style, resembling an A-frame with a very thick thatched roof. This roof insulates the house from the cold winters and nights in this mountainous region of Japan. It has become quite a tourist attraction and should probably be avoided during peak Japanese holiday periods. However, one unforgettable way to experience the village is to stay overnight in the village, as several enterprising families have opened their homes as family inns.