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Fire Causes Damage Near Another UNESCO World Heritage Site in Japan

The fire near Shirakawa-go occurred a few days after much of the ancient Shuri Castle in Okinawa Prefecture, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, was ravaged by fire.

  • Gifu Prefectural Police received a call about a fire near Shirakawa-go
  • Shirakawa-go is a UNESCO World Heritage Site popular for its farmhouses with its slanting thatched roofs
  • The fire occurred a few days after much of the ancient Shuri Castle in Okinawa Prefecture, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, was ravaged by fire

Two huts were engulfed by fire last Monday near the UNESCO World Heritage site of Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture, Central Japan. According to Gifu Prefectural Police, they received a call from a resident at around 2:40 in the afternoon. The huts affected by the fire were located approximately 400 meters away from the village center, in a site where traditional gassho-zukuri houses were located.

To prevent the fire from spreading, residents sprayed water over the thatched roofs of the other farmhouses using the water dischargers installed in the village. The fire was extinguished about two hours with no reported injuries. However, the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Fire engulfed a farmhouse near the famous Shirakawa-go in Gifu Prefecture, Central Japan
Photo source: Kyodo

Shirakawa-go is a historic village located in the village of Shirakawa in Gifu, Japan. It is well known for its traditional farmhouses constructed using the rare gassho-style architecture.

The farmhouses are characterized by their steeply-slanted thatched roof, which allows the houses to withstand the heavy snowfalls in the area during winter.

Shirakawa-go is famous for its farmhouses with thatched roofs
Photo source:

The local government of Shirakawa has called for heightened alert among its residents following the massive blaze which devoured much of Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa. A woman who works at a restaurant near the village has said, ” I saw the huts burning when I went outside. I was really scared because this was right after the fire at Shuri Castle.

Shuri Castle, another UNESCO World Heritage site located in Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, was destroyed by a massive fire last October 31.


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