World Heritage Village of Gokayama
Gokayama is a district in Toyama Prefecture that includes the villages of Suganuma and Ainokura. This district is home to gasssho-zukuri houses. These houses have a unique style of architecture with very steep thatched rooves. They can only be found in Gokayama and Shirakawago and together they were designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.
The name gassho-zukuri refers to the shape of the rooves. Gassho means hands clasped together in prayer. A total of 32 of these gassho-zukuri houses remain in Gokayama today. You can view these unique houses which were built between 300 and 400 years ago. Sometimes you can even enter the roof space and take a look at the roof structure up close! The contrast between the gassho-zukuri houses and the rice paddies, fields, and surrounding mountains make a beautiful picture and it will feel like you have traveled back in time.
Gokayama Village of Japanese Paper
Records exist showing that during the Edo Period 400 years ago, origami paper made on the flatlands of Gokayama was presented to Toshinaga Maeda, second head of the Kaga Domain, who was lord of this district at the time. Kaga Domain was a prosperous part of Northern Japan in those days.
From that day on, Gokayama Washi Paper developed under the protection of the Kaga Domain. The area became production center of quality washi paper. Gokayama Washi Paper is designated as a national traditional craft, and is used in the repair of Japan's important cultural properties such as Kyoto Imperial Palace and Katsura Imperial Villa.
You can experience making three types of postcard from your own hand-made washi paper. Try making an original, one-of-a-kind postcard from quality washi paper with your own memorable hands on experience.
Zuiryu-ji – Historic Temple of the Hokuriku Region
Zuiryuji is a temple built to perform a memorial service for Toshinaga Maeda, second head of the Kaga Domain and lord of this district. It was constructed by his successor and the third head of the domain, Toshitsune Maeda. The temple took twenty years to build and was completed in 1663.
The main gate, main worship hall, and Butsuden (Budda Hall) were declared as National Treasures of Japan in 1997.
The Buddha Hall is made of Japanese zelkova wood and the extreme complexity of the ceiling structure is an architectural marvel. The roof is actually made of lead tiles, which is very rare for buildings in Japan. The total weight of the lead is 47 tons. It is basically the equivalent of about three trucks sitting on top of the roof. A lush lawn covers the grounds.
One step into the grounds of this temple and you will be enchanted by the quiet atmosphere of this Zen temple.