UNESCO World Heritage Site: The Gassho-Style Houses of Shirakawa-go

In 1995, the villages of Shirakawa-go were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site for the beautiful scenery they create and their historically significant structures.

The Gassho-style houses are a marvel to look at, and the wooden buildings built with steep-angled thatched roofs are the everyday residences of the people in the village, even today after 300 years have passed. Some of the buildings are open to the public, and you can also make arrangements to stay overnight, so these spots are highly recommended.

Wada-ke House is the largest of the many homes, so you should definitely take the opportunity to check it out. In the southern area of Shirakawa-go, you can find the Hirase Onsen (hot spring) area, where you can enjoy a steamy bath amidst an untouched expanse of vivid green nature.

“Located in a mountainous region that was cut off from the rest of the world for a long period of time, these villages with their gassho style houses subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and the rearing of silkworms. The large houses with their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic upheavals, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and Suganuma are outstanding examples of a traditional way of life perfectly adapted to the environment and people’s social and economic circumstances.” 


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