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Shirakawa-go (in Japanese: 白川郷, which means "White River Old-District") is a town near Takayama in Gifu Prefecture Japan and is best known for its houses that are built in the traditional Japanese style known as *Gasshou Zukuri (see below).
A farmhouse in Shirakawa-go Gifu Japan
The little village called "Ogimachi" (in Japanese: 荻町) within Shirakawa-go contains many of these Gasshou Zukuri homes/farms some of which are more than 250 years old. The town was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1995. However, after becoming a UNESCO World Heritage site, tourism greatly grew and some people who lived in the village homes turned their homes into gift shops and parking lots... threatening the status of a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shirakawa-go is now extremely popular with Japanese and guests from overseas who come to see this beautiful little town that looks like something you might see in a fairy-tale movie.
Farmhouses in Shirakawa-go Gifu Japan
Gasshou Zukuri: Gasshou Zukuri (in Japanese: 合掌造) style houses have huge roofs that are steeply peaked. The name "Gasshou" is derived from the similarity of the roof shape and two hands in prayer. Typically these homes are 3 or even 4 stories high and are used for living, working and storage. The main reason behind the steeply shaped roofs is to accommodate the extensive precipitation, especially snow, experienced in many parts of Japan. The steeply peaked roofs allow rain and snow to fall straight off, preventing water from getting through the roof into the home. Of course when it snows, snow tends to collect on the room but when the sun comes out and it warms up, the snow tends to slide off.
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