Strange and Impressive Fire Sprinklers of Japan’s Gifu Prefecture

We’ve previously written about the small prefecture in Japan called Gifu, and it’s transformation into a snowy wonderland in the winter. Indeed, this part of Honshu is known as the place with the highest snowfall in the entire world.

We’re revisiting this ancient and beautiful part of Japan to explore another oddity, this time an event called the Water Hose Festival.

As the village of Shirakawa-go is made up of Gassho-style thatched homes dating back to the 11th century, they are particularly prone to fire.  Additionally, the historic town is considered a UNESCO World Heritage Site, making protection of the houses very important.

Ingeniously, the town has advanced and substantial fire protection, in the form of disguised water hoses. Hidden within traditional-looking structures, the roofs open up and douse the houses (and potential fire) in water in a moment’s notice.  Each year the systems are tested a few times, and those tests have become cultural events.

Leave it to the Japanese to be overly prepared for a fire eventuality, plus elegantly keep the look of the UNESCO site intact. Via Colossal: