| Centrip Editorial Board

About Shirakawa-go :Centrip Japan's Complete Guide to Shirakawa-go

Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The best part of Shirakawa-go is the village with its Japanese traditional houses built in a style called Gassho-zukuri. Gassho-zukuri is a house with steep thatched roofs to shed heavy snow which is typical in Shirakawa-go. This village was once a secluded region, so it retains its traditional look.

About Shirakawa-go

Best Part of Shirakawa-go: Traditional Japan

Shirakawa-go is famous for its heavy snow and the people who live there have to deal with it for 5 months of the year. The steep roofs of Gassho-zukuri alleviate how much people have to deal with the snow. Gassho-zukuri appears to have started at the end of the 17th century and the village remained unchanged for hundreds of years. Gassho-zukuri houses are spacious and people grew silkworms at home.

Why is Shirakawa-go a World Heritage Site?

The structure of Gassho-zukuri in Shirakawa-go is considered quite unique because of the angle of the roof's construction and its capacity, but it is not the uniqueness which makes Shirakawa-go a World Heritage Site, it is the fact that people are still living there. To find the village with authentic Japanese traditional houses and lifestyles is very difficult even in Japan. Not only foreign tourists, but Japanese people visit Shirakawa-go to see these scenes.

What is Rethatching?

The roofs needs rethatching, completely replaced, once in every few decades. To rethatch one side of the roof takes a whole day even with the help of 100 to 200 people. The villagers always lend their neighbor a helping hand. Although the homes are old, the roofs are relatively new. Lucky visitors to the village might get to catch a rethatching in progress.

Related Articles Related Articles