Gassho Village is an outdoor folk museum located in the city of Gero in Gifu prefecture. Within the village are several examples of traditional Japanese mountain homes with their characteristic “praying hands” thatched roofs. The unique A-frame structure inspired the name gassho, which is the Japanese word for placing your hands together in prayer.
Visitors enter the village through an admission gate. After paying a small fee, you are free to wander around the various stations. Inside of the homes are displays showing articles used in daily life, such as writing instruments, farm tools, and looms for silk weaving.
In addition to the exhibits are stations where visitors are encouraged to try their hand at traditional Japanese crafts such as paper making and ceramic painting. On site is a knowledgeable master ceramicist who can assist you in making your own work of art.
Gassho Village is also one of the best places to try the region’s local specialties, which include salt-roasted fish, savory rice cakes and a variety of traditional sweets. There are three separate dining locations each with their own distinctly delicious menus.
No visit to this traditional mountain town would be complete without watching their entertaining shadow puppet theater performance. The Shirasagi Puppet Theater is a traditional Japanese theater experience where guests wrap their shoes in plastic bags before sitting on the tatami mat floor. The performance is done by a resident professional theater troupe, who tells Japanese folk tales and local legends through the use of shadow puppets and colorful backgrounds. Although the performance is in Japanese, the enthusiasm and beauty brought to the performance makes it visually appealing whether you can understand the details or not.