Explore Japan on foot
Discover the rich culture of Japan
High in the mountains of western Toyama Prefecture lies the village of Ainokura. Like Shirakawago in Gifu Prefecture, Ainokura is known for its Japanese thatched-roof farmhouses. The buildings are called "Gassho-Zukuri" or "hands-in-prayer," and there are about 20 Gassho-Zukuri in this village. Most of these houses were built between the end of the Edo Period and the end of the Meiji period but the oldest dates back to the 17th century. These unique buildings were used for the production of silk, once one of Japan's major exports. In 1995 Ainokura was listed as a World Heritage Site, and it has attracted many visitors from all over the country. Tourists can visit the Ainokura Minzoku-kan (Ainokura Folklore Museum), a Gassho-Zukuri that has been converted into an exhibition of local folklore items. For more information about Ainokura please check the Farmhouse Stay in Ainokura.