Gifu – Takayama and the village Shirakawa-gō

Gifu – Takayama and the village Shirakawa-gō

Just before Christmas I made a short trip to Takayama, also to have a look at the village Shirakawa-gō. I left Sunday morning, arrived around noon and visited the historical part of Takayama. On Monday I mainly visited the village Shirakawa-gō. The rest of the time on Monday and Tuesday morning (Christmas Eve) again a little Takayama. A typical japanese holiday…

Takayama is a city that was directly under the control of the Tokugawa shogunate and still has many buildings from the Edo period, which is why it is also called Little-Kyōto

Apart from the historical quarter, I also visited the Takayama Jin’ya, the seat of the governor during the Edo period. This seat is also the only surviving governor’s residence of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Shirakawa-gō (“Village on the White River”) and Gokayama, are three historic villages and have been recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. I only visited the village Ogimachi in Shirakawa. The houses in these villages are built in a special architectural style, the Gasshō-zukuri. In this the roof is thatched and at an angle of about 60°. This enables the houses to withstand the extremely heavy snowfall, as the snow slides down from the roof. Furthermore, due to the lack of space in the region (only narrow valleys), the houses are relatively large and have 3-4 floors, all of which are actively used. In the upper floors silkworm breeding was started until the 70s and Japanese paper was made from the leaves of the mulberry bushes. While the saltpetre production on the ground floor came to a standstill in the 19th century due to cheaper imports.

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