Gassho-zukuri style house, Shirakawago, Japan

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The two villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama with their Gassho-zukuri style houses were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage in 1995. Located in a mountainous region that has been isolated for a long time, these villages made their living from the cultivation of mulberry trees and the breeding of silkworms. Their large houses with their steep thatched roofs are unique to Japan.

The main characteristic of these villages wooden houses is their thatched triangular sloping, like hands in prayer (gassho), to support the weight of snow, abundant in this region. These are great houses of 18m long by 10m wide with four levels, where several generations live together. The last level is traditionally reserved for the breeding of silkworms.


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