Huts with Open Fire Pits and No Chimneys
December 31, 2014 4:18 PM   Subscribe

Preserving the Gassho Style (SLYT) The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

The lack of chimneys is a feature, not a bug! you will laugh after you watch the clip
posted by Michele in California (10 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Perfect timing, thanks! We'll be visiting Shirakawa-go a few days from now.
posted by telophase at 5:00 PM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

That guy on the roof... that is a lot of snowfall even for where I live.

If I have one regret in life, it's that I don't live in a ravine, and that establishing shot just reinforces that. There's something about seeing terrain looming over you that is special.

(also OMG they sew the roofing on :) )
posted by selfnoise at 5:02 PM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

Ah! The music is Joe Hisaishi. I knew it sounded familiar.
posted by selfnoise at 5:04 PM on December 31, 2014

Was just at nihon minkaen in Kawasaki a couple of weeks ago. Even as museum pieces, they have to use the fireplaces in the houses to preserve the roofs. It's surprisingly cozy in the house, for not having any wall or flooring insulation and no space heating.

The gassho style roofs are only one of the fascinating things about these houses.
posted by ctmf at 5:07 PM on December 31, 2014 [2 favorites]

This is neat, thank you Michele!
posted by Hermione Granger at 5:43 PM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you are interested in this sort of traditional Japanese architecture, I highly recommend Alex Kerr's book Lost Japan. He goes into some detail about purchasing, restoring and re-thatching an old minka that he now calls Chiiori.

And BTW the NHK produces a ton of fascinating little videos like this, I particularly recommend their iPhone app which streams these videos constantly.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:13 PM on December 31, 2014 [5 favorites]

I got a kick out of seeing the combination of traditional methods and modern safety equipment.

It also gave me the shivers pondering about how they did it in the past.
posted by barchan at 6:22 PM on December 31, 2014

The thatched roofs are beautiful but the woodsmoke is not going to preserve your lungs.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:12 PM on December 31, 2014 [1 favorite]

One of the finest and most fun pens pens I have ever used was a Sailor made with smoke-seasoned bamboo form one of these houses, with a crazy complicated specialty nib.

If you ever want to make me a happy man, you can send one of these pens my way, with any of the Sailor Eagle or Emperor nibs.
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 8:58 PM on December 31, 2014

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