相倉合掌造り集落 Ainokura Gassho Community
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In a cozy village, we can relax and learn about a world heritage site.
Gokayama in Toyama prefecture is a little difficult place to visit. And, compared to Shirakawa-go, there are not so many people in the village. Naturally, we can feel some relaxing atmosphere.
Historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama were registered as UNESCO world heritage sites in 1995.
Gokayama is a general term of 70 villages which exit around the Sho river and its branches. They say that the general term of Gokayama is derived from five valleys. It is not about mountains. And, we can find the name, Gokayama in a book about 500 years ago. Although there are some remains of the Jomon period (14500 BC-300 BC), people mainly started to live in this village in 15th century.
Among many small villages, Ainokura and Suganuma villages are selected as world heritage sites. We can see about 20 Gassho style houses in Ainokura and 9 Gassho style houses in Suganuma village. They are rare examples of villages in which Gassho style houses are preserved at their original locations. That's why this district was selected.
Basically, Gassho style houses were born to prevent piled up snow and make easier work of clearing snow from the roof. And also, in the Edo period (1603-1867), three main industries of Gokayama are sericulture, making ingredients of gunpowder and papermaking. Gassho style houses were also shaped to do the three main industries.
In Ainokura village, there are two museums, Ainokura Minzokukan (Folk museum), Ainokura Dentousangyokan (traditional industry museum). And also, there is a house which we can see the inside, if we pay an entrance fee.
In those museums, there are many exhibitions about sericulture, making ingredients of gunpowder and papermaking. And, we can also learn history, life, geographical features and nature from real examples and various aspects about Gokayama.
Ainokura village is a cozy village. There are also restaurants, cafes, souvenir shops and some inns. So, in relaxing moods, we can enjoy and learn about this world heritage site.
- * The information above is from the date of the review. Please be aware that some of the content may vary from the most recent information.
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