Smoking is not allowed in this village and you cannot enter if you are not on the PHOTO waiting list

Photo: Shutterstock / vichie81

Photo: Shutterstock / vichie81

The idyllic mountain village of 1,600 inhabitants has become so popular with tourists around the world that authorities have had to limit visits and introduce waiting lists.

Shirakawa, a decorated village traditionally located in the Japanese Alps, is popular all over the world for the idyll created by the characteristic sloping roofed houses.

Nestled between high mountains and dense forests in central Japan, except for its beautiful nature, this village is characterized by traditional houses called gassho-zukuri, and is recognized by thatched roofs reminiscent of hands folded in prayer.

Straw on the roofs needs to be replaced every twenty years, so it’s not uncommon to see the Japanese have their hands full so that the houses can withstand the cold winters with a lot of rainfall.

They create a special view of the house in the winter when they are covered in snow, but in the spring they are no less interesting with the cherry blossoms.

In the early 1990’s, this fairytale village in Gifu prefecture was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, which increased the number of tourists.

2.15 million tourists from all over the world visit the small rural community of 1,600 inhabitants a year.

However, in 2019, the authorities decided to limit visits by introducing a waiting list for tourists, and the following year, Shirakawa aroused interest when he was on the Dutch list of the most sustainable destinations in the world.

In addition to living in harmony with nature and avoiding mass tourism, the Dutch praised the strict fire protection measures in the Japanese countryside. Because thatched wooden houses are sensitive to fire, residents often visit the village several times a day on warmer days to protect themselves from the fire.

When a fire broke out in one of the houses in 2019, all the residents rushed to help the fire brigade in order to protect the village from the fire. In addition, smoking is prohibited in the village to prevent accidents.

Since early 2021, city officials, including the Gifu prefecture government, have been taking strict measures to protect the premises from the pandemic, so tourists are advised to familiarize themselves with the bans and rules before visiting. -the bear.

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