Restoring and Harvesting Thatch at Shirakawa-Go

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC)

Maintaining thatch fields and utilizing the harvested thatch for roofing of the Gassho-style house

A thatched roof covers the traditional Gassho-style house located in the Toyota Shirakawa-Go Eco-Institute site. Due to a shortage in local supply of roofing materials, its thatch had to be brought in from a distant source. Since 2008, TMC has been working toward the goal of achieving self-sufficiency in producing thatch, restoring the thatch fields within the Eco-Institute, harvesting thatch, and clearing (cutting and maintaining) the fields. Restoring the thatch fields also provides a buffer zone for wild creatures such as Asiatic black bears, and helps them coexist with humans.
In June 2011, volunteers participated in re-thatching the house, which has been conducted once every 30 years. Many of the participants exclaimed in excitement when the thatch collected through their own efforts was used in the center of the roof.

Standing the harvested thatch for drying
Standing the harvested thatch for drying

Carrying the dried thatch
Carrying the dried thatch

Stacking thatch as a roofing material
Stacking thatch as a roofing material

Participating volunteers
Participating volunteers

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