Mountain isolation has preserved Ogimachi`s abundant charms and the Japanese village has been on the UNESCO World Heritage register since 1995. The village is famous for its gassho zukuri houses. Gassho zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayer”, and locals say the steep thatched roofs look like a Buddhist monk`s hands pressed together in prayer. This unique building style has evolved over many generations to make the structures strong enough to withstand the heavy snow that falls during the winter months. They are built without nails and with vast attics designed to provide indoor working space. Today there are 114 gassho zukuri buildings still standing in Ogimachi and visitors can go inside some to see how they were constructed and divided for living entertainment and working.
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