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[ GO Traveling] Gassho-style Farmhouses

2019/01/15

Speaking of historic village in Japan , most of people will think of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama. They are well known for the unique structure, which are Gassho-style farmhouses. However, there’s also a village with Gassho-style farmhouses in West North of Kyoto -Miyama’s thatched village.

The Gassho-style house ("prayer-hands construction" style) is characterized by a steeply slanting thatched roof, resembling two hands joined in prayer. These Gassho-style houses were built between the 17th century and the beginning of the 20th century. The unique building structure is wooden and without any nails, but it's firm. The snow could easily fall down to the ground from the steep roof, so it could protect the house from the damage of heavy snowfalls in winter. However, the thatched roof shall be repaired every 30~40 years. The task is hard. It needs a lot of manpower to finish. Thus, if there were any family needs a hand, every one in the village would come to help. This kind of cooperation called “Yui”, means connection.

Bruno Taut, a German architect, who first introduced the Gassho-style house to the whole world. During his stay in Japan from 1933 to 1936, he was stunned by this unique structure.

Miyama’s thatched village is in Nantan-shi, Kyoto. It fully remains the original natural environment. It will take one hours to get here by bus. The day we arrived was cold and wet. The Gassho-style houses stands separately in the village, just like some chocolate cakes with Matcha icing sugar on top in the refrigerator. We did not seen any villager in the street, but some tourists with colorful outwears.

There is another character of Gossho-style house in Miyama -Yukiwari. In order to divide the heavy winter snow accumulated on the roof into the ground, there are some lumbers on the top of roof. This is a traditional construction, but it’s practical. Beside of shrine, there is a temple”普明寺” in the village. It’s simple and reconstructed by a civil house. These buildings just add some rustic charm to the villiage. If you would like to take a look of this breathtaking view but worry about the crowd, we would recommend you to visit “Miyama’s thatched village”.

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