|Based on||Shirakawa-go (白川郷)|
|This article contains spoilers.
If you are sensitive to spoilers, proceed with caution.
Arg! Particularly the links.
Hinamizawa (雛見沢) is a fictional village (雛見沢村・Hinamizawamura) and the main setting for the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series. It is located in the Shishibone City, adjacent to Gifu Prefecture where its inspiration exists. The village becomes known for carrying the unusual fictional disease called the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
Hinamizawa was originally called "Onigafuchi (鬼ヶ淵村・Onigafuchimura)" until the Meiji era. The Onigafuchi Swamp (鬼ヶ淵沼・onigafuchi numa) retains the name which translates to "abyss of demons." The 沢 of Hinamizawa's kanji means "swamp," which most likely preserves Hinamizawa's connection to the Onigafuchi Swamp.
Oyashiro-sama's curse (オヤシロさまの祟り, Oyashiro-sama no Tatari) or the Shrine God's Curse is an old superstition believed in many of the villagers in which those who anger the local god Oyashiro-sama will be cursed. Those cursed either die or disappear. One way to be cursed appears to be to leave the village; another appears to be an outsider who moves into the village.
It is later revealed – Arg! – that there was never actually a curse; it was invented long ago to discourage people from leaving the village and triggering the symptoms of Hinamizawa syndrome and for people to enter it and contract and, potentially, spread it if they leave.
Hinamizawa is based on the real village of Shirakawa-go (白川郷 Shirakawa-go). Shirakawa-go's population is actually smaller than Hinamizawa's, having only 1,864 people (as of 2009) compared to Hinamizawa's 2000. Shirakawa-go is located in Gifu Prefecture, high in the mountains, like Hinamizawa. Also like Hinamizawa, most of it is dense forest.
Shirakawa-go was also used as the base for the Hitogata Settlement in the mystery visual novel Kara no Shōjo 2. This makes Kara no Shōjo 2 and Higurashi's villages have striking similarities, including almost identical village overlook shots.