The feature of gassho-style house is covered with thatch and it’s named for their resemblance to hands joined in prayer. The structure is built to suit the environment in Shirakawa-go. There is a tale that it was built by Taira clan in early 13 century after his lost the battle of Genpei War and it was made to retreat and prevent heavy snowfall.
Kanda house was completed by the woodworker who came from Ishikawa prefecture in late Edo era. He kept the original structure and made some improvement to rebuild the farmhouse. Although it’s took over 10 years to complete, its completeness have received a high evaluation.
The first floor, named as “oe”, is a place for people working inside and as a living room.
A hearth such as an integral part of the home and placed in the central of the house which is used for heating and originally also used for cooking food.
When you look up from the hearth, you can see a pine wood-frame there. It is a oven, named “hiama” in Japanese, and also a ceiling fire resistant tool!
“Our “hiama” had never been changed, even the ropes!” the inheritor of Kanda house said.
Over a long period of fumigation, the “hiama” was naturally coated with a black protective layer in the surface and became moisture-proof and mould-proof.
The tatami area next to the living room is a relaxing place for guests. Guests are feel free to drink the tea that cooked on the hearth.
The mezzanine floor was the bedroom for the single-man, called “chunikai” in Japanese.. An very important mission for the person who sleep here is to monitoring the fire condition from this tiny window (see the picture above) to prevent the fire accident.
The second floor of Kanda-house was a place used to raise silkworms.
Tools of sake brewing, an edged tool used for chopping firewood are exhibiting here now.
In addition, there are also brief introduction of the gassho-style structure in the two flanks of the second floor.
Are you wondering why have a sign, called “komajiri” there? The answer is “komajiri” is a method to improve the earthquake resistance which is an very important part in constructing a wooden house.
You could also see the dazzling view of the gassho-style houses from the second floor of Kanda house. The old kind woman of Kanda house told us the history about her family. The income afforded for their life except from their main business of raising silkworms, also from producing the raw material of the gunpowder in the past. Additionally, Bruno Julius Florian Taut, German architect, praised the gassho-style houses were perfectly matching the construction principle and it is a perfect place for human living and working inside in 1935.
The third floor was same as the second floor as a place used to raise silkworms in the past. Now is a place mainly to exhibit the tools of raise silkworms.
The fourth floor was a storage room and you could clearly see the structure of the roof here. Please be noticed that only 3 people can visit the fourth floor in one time because of the weight-bearing limited.
Whatever you would like to know more history about the gassho-style houses or just want to see how a gassho-style house had built, Kanda house is a place that you would not like to miss! Please come and take a look at it when you travel to Shirakawa-go!
Address: Ogimachi 796, Shirakawa village, Ono, Gifu prefecture
Close：Wednesday of 3rd week in Dec, Jan, Wednesday of 4th week in Mar to Nov
Adult: 300 yen、Child: 150yen