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World Heritage Shirakawa-go settlement in central Japan lit up for 1st time in 2 years

SHIRAKAWA, Gifu -- The UNESCO World Heritage settlement of traditional "gassho" houses with steeply angled thatched roofs in the central Japan village of Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture, was lit up on Jan. 16 for the first time in two years.

    The lighting event in the Shirakawa-go settlement is a winter tradition, but it was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    "Gassho" thatched roof houses in the Shirakawa-go settlement are seen lit up for the first time in two years on Jan. 16, 2022, in Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture. (Mainichi/Koji Hyodo)

    The houses covered with snow in the dark were lit up in sequence at around 5:30 p.m. on Jan. 16, creating a fantastical atmosphere.

    As a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus infections, the number of people allowed on the village's observation platform this year is limited to some 700 each time, and visitors other than those staying overnight in the village are required to make reservations for parking lots, which accommodate up to about 200 cars.

    The illumination event is planned between 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, 30, Feb. 6, 13 and 20, but it may be canceled depending on the infection situation and the weather. For inquiries, call the Shirakawa-go light-up committee at 05769-6-1013 (in Japanese).

    (Japanese original by Koji Hyodo, Nagoya Photo Group)

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