Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Located in mountainous areas cut off from other parts of the world for long periods of time, these villages with Gassho-style houses live from planting mulberry trees and maintaining silkworms. Large houses with steep thatched roofs are the only example of their type in Japan. Despite the economic turmoil, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and Suganuma are extraordinary examples of traditional ways of life that are adapted to the environment and the social and economic conditions of the community.

Three settlements are important historical evidence in and about themselves. Villages have been around since the 11th century and each has a strong sense of community. Traditional social systems and lifestyle habits have sustained Gassho-style homes and related historical environments. From the standpoint of traditional management, functions and management systems, the level of authenticity is high.

While conventional collaborative efforts by the population have served to keep thatched roofs in good condition, Japanese restoration practices and principles have long been applied in cases where damage requires large conservation work. Special attention is paid to the use of traditional materials and techniques, and the use of new materials is strictly controlled. Given the standard modular construction of similar types of traditional wood structures, reconstruction and replacement involves a minimum number of estimates. Gassho-style houses maintain their authenticity from the perspective of form and design, as well as materials and materials.

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