Today’s photo is from the remote village of Shirakawa-go. This is a small farming village that most people didn’t even know existed until recent years. It has now become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, most famous for the traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses.
They are built with incredibly thick, steeply slanting roofs. I mean thick. Easily a few feet. They are designed this way to keep out the incredible cold and also to allow snow to fall off easier. Shirakawa is in the mountains and gets a huge amount of snow every year, from several feet and up. You can understand the need to design the roofs this way to deal with that.
You can see some modern buildings are starting to pop up here and there, but quite a few of the old farmhouses remain. Because this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the tourism is just crazy. I took this shot relatively early in the morning so the crowd isn’t out yet, but you can still see the early-risers here and there. Tourism has become so great that a lot of the farmers have actually converted their houses to shops or inns, making many think this site may soon be removed from the World Heritage list.
I took this photo from a nearby mountain. An easy climb, but I was still tired enough from it that I wasn’t that careful with this shot. Oh well—maybe next time, eh? 🙂
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