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Gokayama-no Gasshozukuri, the World Heritage Site: Enjoy the townscape and accommodation

Located in the snowy area along the Shogawa River, Toyama Prefecture, Gokayama is a place surrounded by rich nature. In 1995, Ai-nokura Shuraku and Suganuma Shuraku were designated as the World Heritage Site together with Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture. The idyllic landscape of the village with the houses in “Gasshozukuri” style will give you a nostalgic sensation. In Gokayama, many historical documents, biographies, and folk songs have been left.
Toyama | Japan, 〒939-1973 Toyama-ken, Nanto-shi, Suganuma, 855
(Updated on: Jul 21, 2017)

Gokayama-no Gasshozukuri, the World Heritage Site: Enjoy the townscape and accommodation
Source: nagatan.info
In Gokayama, the local guides called “Gokayama-gurashi An’nai’nin” provide the information on its history and the life in the region while you are touring around the World Heritage Site. Gokayama Sogo Information Center offers the important items in the snowy area to try on, like Gozaboshi and Waranofukagutsu. Why don’t you try them on? In the region, the locals are still living in the good-old landscapes of Japan with rice fields and streams.
Gokayama-no Gasshozukuri, the World Heritage Site: Enjoy the townscape and accommodation
In the loft of the Gasshozukuri houses, people raised silkworms to produce silk, and they produced saltpeter (an ingredient of gunpowder) in the basement to support the domain of Kaga. Because of that, the domain protected those people and the heavy-looking Gasshozukuri houses were built. Among them, the five-storied house of the Iwase family is one of the biggest. The sturdy looking is a must see. In the area, many folk songs were made, such as “Kokiriko,” “Mugiyabushi,” and “Toichinsa.”
Actually, the Gasshozukuri houses can be found in other areas, and each area shows its own style. In Gokayama, the roofs of houses are steeper than those of other areas so that the heavy damp snow falls easily. The design which has the entrance on the gable side, like the one of the Murakami family, is another feature.
In the Gokayama area, traditional paper(“washi”)-making has been brisk. The paper called “Gokayama-washi” is designated as a traditional craft of the nation, and used for the maintenance of the important cultural properties. It is also getting more popular as a material of interior items and small articles. They offer the workshop where you can make the paper that has 400 years of history.
*time required: 10 minutes
*workshop charges: 500 yen for a sheet in the place-mat size
Japan, 〒939-1923 Toyama-ken, Nanto-shi, Shimonashi, 148
In Gokayama, many folk songs were made, and two of them, “Kokiriko” and “Mugiyabushi” are designated as the intangible cultural properties of Japan. The live performances of these songs and dances are very impressive. You can experience the traditional dance of “Kokiriko” and the “Sasara-ami” making, which uses 108 panels of Japanese cypress. Dancing in the “Kokiriko” outfit with “Sasara” in your hand will be a wonderful memory.
[Kissa-Wa Dederekoden] 1,940 yen for 72 “Sasara”/ 3,450 yen for 108
Japan, 〒939-1914 Toyama-ken, Nanto-shi, Kaminashi (Kyūtairamura), 741
[Gasshozukuri inn]
You can stay overnight at the World Heritage inn. Enjoy the culinary blessing of nature, like the good-old salt-grilled fish and “Gokayama tofu,” around a sunken hearth with nice conversation. You might enjoy the starry sky too. The flesh air and warm food are two of the best things of the inn.
[Yusuke] accommodation charge 10,000 yen ~ (a pair a day only)
[Shyoshichi] 12,960 yen ~ (2 pairs a day only)
[Nakaya/ Yomoshirou/ Choyomon] 8,800 yen~
Gokayama-no Gasshozukuri, the World Heritage Site: Enjoy the townscape and accommodation
Source: nanto-yui.jp
“Gokayama tofu” produced in Gokayama has a long history. Because of its lower moisture, it is hard enough to tie up with a rope. The taste of soybean is condensed in it. It is good to eat as “sasahimi,” “hiyayakko,” or “tempura.” “Iwana (Japanese char)” in the clear river of Gokayama is very popular for salt-grill and “sushi.” The soft and fresh texture is very addictive. As for sweets, “tochimochi” cannot be missed. The good-old taste of “tochimochi zenzai” will warm your body and soul.
[Gokayama Seishonen Ryokomura Gassho-no Sato]
It is located next to the World Heritage Site of the Suganuma Gassho Shuraku. There are 13 inns of Gasshozukuri style, and you can experience the life in a Gasshozukuri house. You can stay alone or in a group. When you stay here as a group, you can make a reservation for “iwana”-catching, rice-cake pounding, some workshop of artwork, and a folk song session. It also has a facility where you can learn the structure of Gasshozukuri and the dialects.
*from Takaoka station (Hokuriku Honsen Line), transfer to Johana Line for Johana station, and take a Kaestunou Bus (42-minute ride)
*from Gokayama IC on the Tokai-Hokuriku Expressway, 3-minute drive
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Translated by nsekiguchi