Traditional Japanese houses lit up at World Heritage site event

Traditional houses in a UNESCO World Heritage site in central Japan were lit up on Sunday, with their steep thatched roofs standing out against the snow-covered scenery.

The illumination event started that evening in a mountainous region located in Gifu Prefecture's Shirakawa Village.

About 30 Gassho-style houses in the Shirakawa-go district were illuminated for about two hours using spotlights and other devices.

The snow was only about 30 centimeters deep, less than in a usual year. Visitors were seen walking around and taking photos of the quaint scenery.

The event was canceled in the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. This year, reservations are required and visitors are being limited to about 3,000 per day.

A woman from Kyoto Prefecture said the scenery was surreal and more beautiful than she had imagined. She said she felt as if she had stepped into a fairy tale.

The houses will be lit up every Sunday through mid-February.