Gokayama Ainokura Village is a famous village known for its traditional characteristics and its structure of the Gassho-style houses. The village is registered as one of Japan's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The lifestyle and culture have remained very traditional for many years and there is still beautiful traditional scenery found here. Inside the village there are private homes that provide meals and lodging, souvenir shops, and the Ainokura Folk Museum. You can also enjoy interacting with the local people from the village to learn more about their traditional culture. From an observatory area you can look out over the village as well.
About the architecture and structure of the Gassho-style houses
The architecture and structure of the Gassho-style houses are one of the types of private house designs in Japan. The Gassho-style house features a steep thatched roof made of wood and the roof shape looks like one's hands are put together with the palms facing inward. The word 'Gassho' means to join one's hands in prayer. The Gassho-style house is one of the most important types of houses in Japan due to its rarity and uniqueness and can only be seen in Gokayama District. Today the village has 24 Gassho-style houses, including private houses, temples, dojo studios, and Gassho-style huts. Ten of the eleven private houses are unoccupied. Most of them were built between the end of the Edo Era and the beginning of the Meiji Era. These Gassho-style houses are the main attraction for the traditional setting of Ainokura Village. An artificial forest was also built near the village to protect it from avalanches and other natural disasters.
Ainokura Folk Museum
Ainokura Folk Museum introduces the history and the culture of Ainokura Village and the Gokayama District through pictures and panels. The museum was originally a house but was established as a museum so that visitors can look at the inside of a Gassho-style house. The entrance fees are as follows: 200 yen for adults, 100 yen for high school students, and 50 yen for elementary and junior high students. It is open seven days a week.
Light-up displays in the village
Gokayama Ainokura Village is beautifully illuminated in March, May, September and November. At night in the village all the Gassho-style houses are lit up and look charming. In March, "Kamakura" (similar to an igloo) is built with the remaining snow, and candles and lights are put inside of them. During the light-up displays in September, there is a performance of folk songs from Gokayama that is broadcasted live. The hours for light-up events in March, May and September are from sunset to 21:00, and for the event in November it is from sunset to 20:00. In addition, there is a house that sells winter clothes in November.
The Gassho-style roofs can be damaged by fire so it is prohibited to smoke or drop cigarettes inside the village, except for in the designated areas. Additionally, Ainokura Village is a village where local people are still residing; visitors may not enter without permission in certain areas of the village such as private homes, fields and footpaths between the rice fields. Visiting in the early morning or after dark may cause a disturbance for the residents. Visitors can look at the inside of a Gassho-style house at the Ainokura Folk Museum only.
Bus: The nearest stop is Ainokura Stop on the Kaetsuno Bus or Gokayama-Ainokura-guch Stop on the World Heritage Bus. Car: Take the exit for Gokayama IC on the Tokai Hokuriku Expressway and from there it will take another 20 minutes to reach the village. Parking: Available for 500 yen.
Image Gallery: Gokayama Ainokura Village
Description: Gokayama Ainokura Village
|Sights||Gokayama Ainokura Village (五箇山 相倉合掌造り集落)|
611, Ainokura, Nanto-shi, Toyama
|Phone / Fax||Phone: 0763-66-2123|
Spring (March - May)Summer (June - August) Autumn (September - November) Winter (December - February)
|Recommended target||Family Couples Groups Infant & Toddler (ages 0-6) Child (ages 7-17) Adult (ages 20+) Single traveller|
Map: Gokayama Ainokura Village