Ouchi-juku prospered as a post town on an important road connecting Aizu Wakamatsu City and Nikko during the Edo period. Even today, private homes with thatched roofs proliferate,; shopkeepers typically live in their stores. In 1981, Ouchi Juku was designated as a nationally important traditional buildings preservation district. In order to pass on the landscape to future children, a resident charter was created on the three principles of "do not sell, do not lend, do not destroy" so as to preserve the landscape with traditional thatch roofing. Traditional thatched roofs are maintained by the villagers by means of their own conservation activities - the villagers work together centered on craftsmen called Kayate who has specialized skills. Thatched roof is made up of Japanese pampas grass - cool in the summer and warm in the winter, but it is very vulnerable to fire and spreads quickly once it burns. Therefore, in the village of Ouchi-juku, water is discharged by giant sprays every year on September 1.
- ©John Lander
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