Gifu Prefecture’s Shirakawa Village is located in the approximate center of the Japanese archipelago. In 1995, this small village, surrounded by mountains, achieved global recognition when it became a registered UNESCO World Heritage Site. The primary subject of this status is the gassho style residences and the lifestyles lived within them. People once again considered the wisdom of a culture of communal living, for survival in a harsh natural environment.
Gassho (praying hands) style houses were thus named because the shape of the large thatched roofs resembles the shape formed by people’s hands when offering prayers to the gods. No nails are used in their construction. The joints between timbers are secured only with ropes and vines, but have proven strong enough to endure hundreds of years of winds and snowfall. Just like the gassho style houses, the villagers themselves live hand in hand, bound together by the strong culture and enduring lifestyle.
Here, various aspects of life that the Japanese hold dear to their hearts are bound up together, and an irreplaceable landscape remains to this day.
Please come and make your own connection with Shirakawa-go.
World Heritage Site Shirakawa-go Promotional Video -musubu-A