In the recesses of a mountain 350 km away from Tōkyō, there is a spot that is visited by people who come from all over the world just to see it. That spot is Shirakawa-gō in Gifu Prefecture, a place that is considered at its most beautiful when blanketed in snow.
Shirakawa-gō’s gasshō-zukuri village was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1995. This time, we will draw a bit closer to what makes Shirakawa-gō and its rafter roof structures so interesting.
What Kind Of Place Is Shirakawa-gō?
Shirakawa-gō in Gifu Prefecture is a zone where the ancient style of Japanese architecture, which used sloping roofs, is preserved. The landscape, with dozens of homes with brown thatched grass roofs, is very distinctive.
It was registered as a World Heritage Site because of its place in human history and its importance as a historical structure. It exemplifies a prior age – the gasshō-zukuri buildings at Shirakawa-gō have a history that is longer than 300 years.
What is ”Gasshō-zukuri”?
Gasshō-zukuri is one of Japan’s ancient architectural styles, most widely recognized by its characteristic thatched grass roofs, which are said to look like hands clasped in prayer. The roofs are built with steep slopes because of the heavy snowfall around Shirakawa-gō; once enough snow piles up, the snow naturally slides off the roofs under its own weight.
In modern-day Japan, gasshō-zukuri can only be seen at Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in Toyama Prefecture. This rarity was the key to it being registered as a World Heritage Site.
Kayabuki is a style of roof construction that uses silver grass and other grass varieties. Kayabuki is a tradition that has been passed down from time immemorial, with one strict tenet: no nails are to be used in its construction. The grass is apparently replaced every thirty or forty years.
It’s important to remember that people still actively live in these gasshō-zukuri houses; while visitors come to see them, they are also peoples’ homes.
The highlight of Shirakawa-gō is the residence called Wada-ke. This residence, which is the biggest structure in Shirakawa-gō, is precious enough to be registered as an important cultural asset by itself. Even though 300 years have passed since its original construction, it still retains much of its original character.
we can help you booking ticket from Nagoya to Shirakawa-gō
Minimum number of participants for operation 1 person
Duration: 1 day
English langrage support, you must make a booking within 7 days to the departure
Address: Gifu Prefecture, Ono-gun, Shirakawamura, Ogi-chō
Operating hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Fixed holidays: None
Wi-Fi access: None
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