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About 50 km north-west of Takayama is one of the most beautiful UNESCO heritage villages in the world. Once this village was an almost unknown and inaccessible site due to both its harsh winter temperatures and the abundant snowfall for most of the year. Also home to interesting trade that contributed to the unification of Japan itself under the Shogun Tokugawa. But the biggest changes took place starting from the '50s with the arrival of large companies which, also wanting to preserve them, built ever better roads to favor the influx and new dams for an ever-increasing energy demand. Given the times and the improvement of life in general, many villages of this type have been abandoned or destroyed and only the most important have survived and it is here that the Japanese government has seriously intervened to preserve what can be saved. The village once contained fewer "Gassho-zukuri" houses, some have literally been dismantled and rebuilt by neighboring villages. The village of Shirakawa (ancient name Shirakawa go) then became part of the World Heritage Site in 1995. This has directly contributed to an increasing influx of tourism. Shirakawa today is an undisputed destination between Takayama and Kanazawa with tourists from all over the world, but also from my compatriots from the country of the "Rising Sun".

© Photo Luca Facchini

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