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Japan -> Shirakawa-go
Shirakawa-go  
Gifu Prefecture

Shirakawa-go is a remote mountain region in southern Shokawa Valley. Historically, the region was a safe haven for those under persecution. Most families here produced silk until the 1970s in their gassho-zukuri (thatched houses). This village of gassho-zukuri earned the distinction of being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. There were originally 1,800 gassho-zukuri, but now only 150 remain. Every year a few houses are rethatched, using 200 people and taking two days. The steep-roofed gassho homes (meaning 'praying hands') are designed to withstand the heavy snowfall every year, and to wick away rain quickly so the straw does not rot. Each gassho home holds extended family of up to 30 people, all involved in the cultivation of silk worms.

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