Shirakawa Village is located in the northwestern part of Gifu Pref. and is next to Gokayama Village in Toyama pref., and west of the village are the Hakusan Mountains which border Ishikawa Pref. and Gifu Pref.. It is a typical mountain village that is surrounded by mountains. Mountains and forests account for 96% of the area and the remaining 0.4% is cultivated land.
Gassho-zukuri Village in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, were listed as sites of The World Heritage at the 19th UNESCO board held in Berlin, Germany on December, 1995, under Japan’s requests.
Gassho-zukuri is a house built of wooden beams combined to form a steep thatched roof that resembles two hands together.
You can see houses such as these in other parts of the country. In Shirakawa, they are called “Kiritsuma-Gassho-zukuri,” and the roof can be looked triangular just like a standing book open.
It is the characteristic of these houses in this country.
The structure is built to suit the environment in Shirakawa. It is made to with stand heavy snowfall.
The house face north and south, to minimize wind resistance.
They are also built for be comfort in both summer and winter. The houses stand in a certain direction to adjust the amount of sun in order to keep the room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.