Around the turn of the XIX century, most homes in the Japanese countryside had thatched roofs. Hardly any are left today and Shoji Yamada House in Mashiko -- today a museum -- is a notable exception.
One of the reasons is safety -- the reeds definitely pose a fire hazard.
More important however, it has become increasingly difficult and costly to build and maintain thatched roofs.
As wetlands disappear, yoshi -- the special type of reed used in such traditional buildings -- is hard to obtain.
Days when, entire village communities would gather to help repair someone's rooftop are long gone. And sadly, there are hardly any craftsmen left, who know how to do it.