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Shirakawa-go — a village community in Gifu Prefecture that was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site for its thatched-roof farmhouses in 1995 — has been a tourist magnet for years. But its beauty goes up a few notches for seven days each year, when many of the houses are lit up in the snow.

Now in its 23rd year, the illumination of the gassho-zukuri farmhouses, with their characteristic, steeply sloped roofs designed to protect the wooden structures against the weight of the heavy snow, can be observed from 5:30 p.m. till 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 24 and 31, and Feb. 1, 8, 14 and 21.

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