Although located in the center region inside one of the most modern countries in the world, Japan, this place seems as a split from the rest of the world. Hiding secretly along a beautiful river valley surrounded by the mountainous area of Chubu for a long time in the past, the historic villages of Gokayama was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site dated back to 1995. Shore excursions from Toyama or Kanazawa port are recommended to include this pure land.
Thanks to the geographical features and social background, this place is home to a unique farmhouse type that wonderfully harmonizes the usage of modern rational structural systems and also can adapt to the draconic weather condition. From both Toyama and Kanazawa shore excursions, it takes a short scenic drive from port to the traditional villages of Gokayama.
The villages of Gokayama is famous for being the only place still exists the specific Gassho-style houses which are retained on the cultivation of mulberry trees and raising up the silkworms. These large houses have steeply pitched thatched roofs covering many rooms inside with traditional Gassho-style. In spite of economic development, people living inside the villages still keep the traditional lifestyle but also adapt and communicate with the social outside.
Gokayama lining by the beautiful Shogawa River Valley provides the uncommon chance to visit the farms outside the ancient houses with the age of more than 250 years old. Gassho stands for “constructed like hands in prayer” in English bringing the meaning of these houses are resembled by the hands of many monks while they are praying. The large and durable roofs are designed uniquely to withstand the heavy snow that stagnates covering the roofs during winter. Under the roofs, locals use this large space to raise up silkworms.
More than just Gassho-style houses, the villages of Gokayama also attract hundreds of visitors due to the beautiful landscape, peaceful atmosphere, and pure feeling they brought. Keep your eyes open, admire endless lush paddy fields, red-yellow leaves falling in autumn, and perfect snow-white in everywhere you set your foot in winter.