Ainokura, Nanto, Toyama 939-1915, Japan
Residents still live & farm in this historic villageAinokura Village, located outside Toyama, is a unique cultural experience. Designated a World Heritage site in 1995, it is home to over 80 residents. Because families still live and farm on the land visitors are asked to be respectful. The village is made up of twenty gassho-style homes. Most are hundreds of years old with the oldest being 400 years old. The gassho roof has a 60 degree pitch and is made of hazel wood boughs lashed together. No nails are used. Every 20 years the roofs are re-thatched. Two of the houses are used as museums where visitors can see how residents live and cook in their homes. You can join villagers for a meal at the many restaurants on-site. No cars are allowed in the village so park outside and walk in. Similar historic villages are located at Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture and Suganuma in Toyama Prefecture.