Currently reading the VNs, just finished part 5 (meakashi). Higurashi is one of the best pieces of creative media I've ever seen; the characters, story, writing, tension and ambiance are all top-tier.
However, I tried watching a little of the anime and I hated it. Even though the art was nice, since they had to cram so much into a few episodes it felt extremely rushed. The was no build-up of tension and so despite there being gore (as opposed to the text-only experience of the vn as there are no unique cg scenes), I felt deaths to be much less impactful. However, the overall story is still amazing.