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Shirakawa and Gokayama are two Japanese villages located in Gifu Prefecture and Toyama Prefecture, respectively, known for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, many of which are more than 250 years old.

Gasshō-zukuri means "prayer-hands construction" and is a style characterized by a thatched and steeply slanting roof resembling two hands joined in prayer. Shirakawa and Gokayama are two of the snowiest places in the world, and gasshō-zukuri homes were created because this climate. The design is exceptionally strong and, in combination with the unique properties of the thatching, allow the houses to withstand and shed the weight of the region's heavy snowfalls in winter.

gassho-zukuri farmhouse-21

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© Amusing Planet, 2014.



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