Traditional farm village of Ainokura. Three houses.
17th-20th c Japanese Vernacular Architecture
JAPANESE GASSHO-STYLE Anonymous
(Medieval - present)
Gokayama Ainokura Village. Shokawa Valley. Japan.
Ishikawa Prefecture Museum of Arts.
The farmhouses of the Gokayama Ainokura villages were named as a World Heritage site in 1995. The are called Gassho-zukuri houses based on the steep roofs which are shaped like praying hands (gassho). The roofs must be able to shed both rain and snow quickly so they do not rot. The open hearths which are an integral part of their structure allow the smoke to go up through the thatch helping to dry it. Windows on the two ends could be opened to allow for the circulation of air for the silkworms that were traditionally raised in the top floor. Houses were usually three floors and were inhabited by extended families often with twenty or more people.