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World Heritage


Gassho-zukuri Village recognized as World Heritage!

[Shirakawa-go Gassho-zukuri Village]

[Gassho-zukuri Village in Shirakawa-go and Gokayama], were listed as sites of The World Heritage at the 19th UNESCO board held in Berlin, Germany on December, 1995, under Japan's requests.
It is the 6th World Heritage in Japan after Himeji Castle and Shirakami Mountains, and there preservation over hundreds of years has been recognized worldwide.
It will be preserved as a Heritage shared by the human race.




What is Gassho-zukuri?

Gassho-zukuri is a house built of wooden beams combined to form a steep thatched roof that resembles two hands together.
You can see houses such as these in other parts of the country. In Shirakawa, they are called "Kiritsuma-Gassho-zukuri," and the roof can be looked triangular just like a standing book open.
It is the characteristic of these houses in this country.
The structure is built to suit the environment in Shirakawa. It is made to with stand heavy snowfall.
The house face north and south, to minimize wind resistance.
They are also built for be comfort in both summer and winter. The houses stand in a certain direction to adjust the amount of sun in order to keep the room cool in the summer and warm in the winter.





[The World Heritage]

The world heritage is now listed to preserve cultural assets and protect nature as human's treasure.
While the conservation of nature and the preservation of cultural assets were taking place in Europe and America after the war, the World Heritage Treaty was concluded in 1972 through the international cooperation for preserving rock-cut temple at Abu Simbel in Egypt.
The list was made by the World Heritage Committee based on the Treaty.
Present world heritage wa 158 country total 630 became.


World Heritage Sites in Japan

1.The Buddhist structures in the Horyuji Temple region in Nara Pref.  1993

They are some of the oldest wooden structures in the world.

2.Himeji Castle (Hyogo Pref.)   1993

It was built at the beginning of the 17th century and is also known as Shirasagi (White Heron) Castle.

3.Yakushima Island (Kagoshima Pref.)   1993

There are Various kinds of rich vegetation, including Japanese cedar trees which are over 1000 years old.

4.Shirakami Mountains   1993

A primeval forest of beech extending along the borders between Aomori Pref. and Akita Pref., where the Great Black Woodpecker inhabits.

5.Cultural assets in ancient Kyoto  1994

There are 17 assets of shrines and temples altogether in Kyoto, Uji and Otsu.

6.Shirakawa-go and Gokayama Gassho Zukuri Villages (Gifu and Toyama Pref)  1995

Traditional houses in the Gassho style stand in the Villages of Shirakawa-go (Gifu Pref.) and Gokayama(Toyama Pref.).

7.Hirosima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) (Hiroshima Pref.)  1996

The atomic bomb dome that conveys the devastation of a nuclear weapon to posterity.

8.Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (Hiroshima Pref.)  1996

Primeval forest of sea and also back of Itsukushima Island shrine and front.

9.Cultural assets of ancient city Nara (Nara Pref.)  1998
     There are 8 assets of shrines and temples altogether in Nara.

10.Shrines and temples of the Nikko (Tochigi Pref.)  1999

11.Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu (Okinawa Pref.)  2000

12.Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range (Nara and Wakayama Pref.)  2004

13.Shiretoko (Hokkaido Pref)  2005
14.Iwami-Ginzan Silver Mine Ruins (Shimane Pref.)  2007

Breakdown for the list of World Heritage Number
cultural heritage 679
natural heritage 174
cultural and natural heritage 25

(2008.7)