Each roof looks like a pair of hands held together in prayer. As the word for this image in Japanese is gassho, these houses are said to be made in the gassho style.
With thatched roofs steeply inclined at 60 degrees to prevent snow build-up, these buildings were constructed of timber and rope made from young neso tree saplings. The spacious attic was used for silkworm cultivation, a useful source of cash income. On days when the village was cut off by deep snow, people would occupy themselves in their houses making straw sandals and weaving.