Tuesday, December 9, 2014


RANMA 欄間 is an openwork screen above the sliding partitions between two rooms.

It was installed for daylighting, ventilation and decoration.
There are many design variations like SHO-JI障子, KOUSHI格子, wooden openwork as RANMA欄間.

Friday, November 14, 2014


TAKEHO GAKI is a type of bamboo fence.
It was made from bamboo spikes.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


KINKAKUJI GAKI 金閣寺垣 is a type of bamboo fence.
It is low and has halved bamboo on the top.
It was first made in KINKAKU JI 金閣寺.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014


OTSU GAKI 大津垣 is a type of bamboo fence.
It is knitted from bamboo grass or bamboo strings.
Because the fence was commonly seen at road side of OTSU 大津(place name. it is in SHIGA 滋賀 prefecture near by KYOTO京都.), It was named OTSU GAKI 大津垣.


KENNINJI GAKI is a type of bamboo fence. 
bamboos cut into four quarters are set in a row without space between. Those are tightened by bamboo batten and rope. The bamboo fence was first made in KENNINJI 建仁寺, so this kind of fence named KENNINJI GAKI 建仁寺垣. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Crumpled washi paper (MOMIGAMI 揉み紙)

Crumpled washi paper is wrinkled from crumpling.

Crumpling paper is a method to produce a feel of cloth and momigami was used as paper for mounting in the tea ceremony during medieval times.
For waterproofing, people paint "DOUSA どうさ" which is liquid mixed animal grue and hide glue. It is strongest washi paper.

Watermarking paper (RAKUSUI SHI 落水紙)

RAKUSUI SHI 落水紙 is a washi paper which has pattern like a lace.
The pattern is made by water drop.
There is a wide variety of patterns.

Shingled roof (KOKERA BUKI 杮葺)

KOKERA BUKI 杮葺 is a way of roofing system. it consists of many thin wooden boards.

The history began next KAYA BUKI. The roofing system KOKERA BUKI 柿葺 had been used since Heian era (平安時代 794-1185).
It make roof shape can be free, It was used for upswept temple roofs(*1).
Sometimes KOKERA BUKI roof in wooden area got mosses on the surface(*2). It makes harmony between the architecture and the environment.


Small bamboo objects in Japanese garden

Small bamboo fences

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Hemp Leaf Pattern (ASA-NO-HA 麻の葉)

A popular Japanese traditional pattern. The name derives from the resemblance of hemp leaves. Since hemp grows strong and upright, the design was typicaly used for swaddling clothes, wishing for their child's growth.

Blue Wave Pattern (SEI-GAI-HA 青海波)

The design originaly came from china more than a thousand years ago. It was named SEI-GAI-HA (more literally means the blue wave of the sea) in the EDO period.

A tea ceremony room (CHASHITSU 茶室)

A tea ceremony room is a facility which is used for accommodating a guest by a host of tea gathering in tea ceremony.

*Jo-an 如庵
photo by 列島宝物館


A custom of tea drinking has been existed since Heian-era(平安時代) in Japan. When it became Kamakura-era(鎌倉時代) , the custom was wide spread around Zen(禅) temples. Tea drinking was not ceremony, it was a part of entertainment in the time. Since the custom of tea drinking was spread and became a habit, it got need specific environment.  A room attached tea facilities was gradually formed and established, and tea culture was too. the tea culture in those times was said SHOIN CHA 書院茶.
At first, Chinese tea things (tea bowl, wall scroll and other tea stuff) was used for a ceremony, but Japanese own preference gradually emerged, it connected to the tea room in the tea hut, the style was called "WABICHA 侘び茶" it was established by SEN NO RIKYU 千利休).


WABICHA was a counter part against SYOIN CHA 書院茶, it was a part of entertainment included noh farce 能, linked poem (RENKA 連歌) , much influenced from Chinese culture and wide spread among samurai since Kamakura-era 鎌倉時代 to Muromachi-era 室町時代.
WABI CHA was much more influenced ZEN 禅 culture. A tea set appearance at first grance to be footy was used at WABICHA ceremony against in SYOIN CHA 書院茶 ceremony, an expensive Chinese tea set used in it. There was ascetic ZEN 禅 philosophy in WABI CHA 侘び茶.
A tea ceremony changed from entertainment to ceremony for limited people to exchange their minds. This change let tea room's style change dramatically.


RIKYU was a person who established WABI CHA 侘び茶 and his tea room designs have had still impact to Japanese architectural design today.
RIKYU fully enforced ascetic philosophy to everything of tea instruments teacup, wall scroll, and even a tea room. He made a tea room apart from a residence, other ward made a tea hut.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Rammed earth (HANCHIKU 版築)

Hanchiku 版築 was famous wall construction method in all over the world in ancient times.
It was made from only soil or mixture of soil and caustic lime.

It was strong solid, so it was used as castle walls, burial mounds or wall of houses.
As compared to it was used for large scale construction like Great wall in China, it was used for smaller architecture like houses or fences in Japan.

Since fine grained yellow ocher was suitable as a material for Hanchiku 版築,  each and every structural object like road, wall, house, temple, castle wall, bank and so on made of Hanchiku 版築in China which had abundant supply of it.
On the other hand, There was scarce amount of such kind of fine grained soil in Japan, Japanese used fish oil, caustic lime and straw as blend materials for Hanchiku版築, those material worked as reinforcement materials.  

* Horyu-ji 法隆寺
photo by 列島宝物館

Monday, October 20, 2014

Neribei 練塀

Neribei練塀 is mud and tile (Kawara 瓦) wall topped with tiles (Kawara 瓦).
Usually, It was made from tiles(Kawara瓦), mixture of mud, chalk powder and oil.

*Houdo temple 報土寺

We can see another type of Neribei 練塀 in Iwai island in Seto Inland sea.
That is used stones instead of Kawara.

* Iwaijima 祝島

Friday, October 17, 2014

Namako wall (NAMAKOKABE なまこ壁)

NAMAKO KABE なまこ壁 is a sort of soil wall, KAWARA 瓦 is attached on it's surface. 
White stucco is attached as a joint of each Kawara, the stucco is shaped in semicircular shape.  
The wall has better fire proof and water proof performance than usual soil wall. 

It was used for a samurai residence in Edo-era 江戸時代 (1603-1868) at first, then it was spread into ordinary houses.
We can see Namako wall cityscape in Shimoda (静岡県下田市) and Kurashiki(岡山県倉敷市) even today.

* Kurashiki, Okayama, Japan

A roofing tile (KAWARA 瓦)

Kawara瓦 is mainly used as roofing item, but there are many usage of Kawara瓦 in Japan.


Kawara 瓦 came down form Korean Peninsula to Japan in Asuka-era (飛鳥時代592-710).
At first, it was used for only temples as a roofing material. Then it had been gradually used for aristocracy's palace in Heian-era (平安時代 794-1185). It became Edo-ra (江戸時代1603-1868), Kawara was used for general buildings because it had fire resistance performance.


1, Clay tile (NENDO KAWARA 粘土瓦)

Clay roof tile is the tile made of mud.
It can be divided three types.
a). glazed tile (YUYAKU KAWARA 釉薬瓦)
b). smoked tile (IBUSHI KAWARA いぶし瓦)
c). non-glazed tile

a). glazed tile (YUYAKU KAWARA 釉薬瓦) It is tile having a glaze layer on a surface of a tile. since the glaze layer makes strong surface, it has better quality to last long than other types. b). smoked tile  (IBUSHI KAWARA いぶし瓦) It is tile having carbon film layer on a surface of a tile.The tile is burned as unglazed tile in a boiler, then when the temperature decrease around 950℃, the boiler is tightly sealed to retain all carbonation. the carbonation make carbon film on the tile surface. The tile has uniform black color at first, but It will get change the color from black to silver with the years.    
c). non glazed tile (SUYAKI KAWARA 素焼瓦)
It is the tile burned without glaze.

2, Metal tile (Kinzoku Kawara 金属瓦)

It is a tile which made from wood with thin metal on the surface.
It was began to be used for some castles in Edo-era (江戸時代1603-1868). It is considered that they use Metal Kawara to reduce the weight of a roof of such a high building.

3, Stone tile (ISHI KAWARA 石瓦)

It is a tile made from stone.
It thought up to use in cold area.  Because clay tile got freezing damage, It couldn't be used in cold area.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Rubble masonry (ISHI ZUMI 石積)

Basic technique of Rubble masonry was come from Korea to Japan.
The technique was developed as stone wall in a process of construction of Azuchi Castle in 1500s.

TYPES 1, Boulder masonry (Tamaishi-zumi 玉石積み)Masonry made of natural raw stone from river.

photo from wiki commons

2 (Gobo-zumi 牛蒡積み)Masonry made of natural raw stone which has long-bodied.

photo from wiki commons

3 Coursed masonry (Nuno-zumi 布積み)Masonry made of fabricated same size stones, it has horizontal transverse joint.
*Edo castle 江戸城 (Imperial palace now)photo from wiki commons
 4  Uncoursed masonry(Otoshi-zumi 落積み or Tani-zumi 谷積み)At first construct like valley with natural stones, then drop remaining stones to the valley, finally it works as strong hard masonry.  It has diagonal joint.

5 (Sangi-zumi 算木積み)masonry's corner set up on the square. 

6 (Kikko-zumi 亀甲積み)Masonry made by hexagonal stones.

7 (Ougi-zumi 扇積み)Masonry the figure was made like Ougi(扇) means the figure is spread toward the bottom.8 (Bizen-zumi 備前積み)Masonry using natural raw stones which have various size, it has very few clearance between stones.9 (Warai-zumi 笑い積み)small stones are arranged around large stone.

10 (Ano-zumi 穴太積み or Nodura-zumi 野面積み)Masonry made by non-fabricated stones.