|Based on||Shirakawa-go (白川郷)|
Hinamizawa (雛見沢) is a fictional village and the setting for the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series. The village is known for carrying an unusual disease called the Hinamizawa Syndrome.
The name of the village was changed from "Onigafuchi" to "Hinamizawa" in Meiji era. The Onigafuchi Swamp retains the name, however, which translates to "Demon Possessing". The 沢 part of Hinamizawa's full kanji name literally means "swamp", which is most likely a reference to/preservation of Hinamizawa's strong historical 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 by some of the villagers. The belief is that anyone who angers the local god Oyashiro-sama will be cursed. What is exactly intended by the curse is unknown, but it usually seems that the cursed either die or disappear. One way to be cursed appears to be to leave the village with no intent to return.
It is later revealed 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.
Hinamizawa is based on the real world 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, 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 Shoujo 2. This makes Kara no Shoujo 2 and Higurashi's villages have striking similarities, including almost identical village overlook shots.