Shinto architecture is the architecture of Japanese Shinto shrines. With a few exceptions, the general blueprint of a Shinto shrine is Buddhist in origin. Before Buddhism, shrines were just temporary. Buddhism brought to Japan the idea of permanent shrines and much of Shinto architecture's vocabulary; the presence of verandas, stone lanterns, elaborate gates are examples of this influence. The composition of a Shinto shrine is variable, none of its possible features are present; the honden or sanctuary, the part which houses the kami and, the centerpiece of a shrine, can be missing. However, since its grounds are sacred, they are surrounded by a fence made of stone or wood called tamagaki, while access is made possible by an approach called sandō; the entrances themselves are straddled by gates called torii, which are therefore the simplest way to identify a Shinto shrine. A shrine may include within its grounds each destined to a different purpose. Among them are the honden or sanctuary, where the kami are enshrined, the heiden, or hall of offerings, where offers and prayers are presented, the haiden or hall of worship, where there may be seats for worshipers.
The honden is the building that contains the shintai "the sacred body of the kami". Of these, only the haiden is open to the laity; the honden is located behind the haiden and is much smaller and unadorned. Other notable shrine features are the temizuya, the fountain where visitors cleanse their hands and mouth and the shamusho, the office that supervises the shrine. Shrines can be large, as for example Ise Shrine, or as small as a beehive, as in the case of the hokora, small shrines found on road sides. Before the forced separation of Shinto and Buddhism, it was not uncommon for a Buddhist temple to be built inside or next to a shrine or to the contrary for a shrine to include Buddhist subtemples. If a shrine was a Buddhist temple, it was called a jingu-ji. At the same time, temples in the entire country adopted tutelary kami (chinju and built temple shrines called chinjusha to house them. After the forcible separation of Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines ordered by the new government in the Meiji period, the connection between the two religions was severed, but continued nonetheless in practice.
The practice of marking sacred areas began in Japan as early as the Yayoi period originating from primal Shinto tenets. Features in the landscape such as rocks, waterfalls and mountains, were places believed to be capable of attracting kami, subsequently were worshiped as yorishiro. Sacred places may have been marked with a surrounding fence and an entrance gate or torii. Temporary buildings similar to present day portable shrines were constructed to welcome the gods to the sacred place. Over time the temporary structures evolved into permanent structures that were dedicated to the gods. Ancient shrines were constructed according to the style of storehouses; the buildings had gabled roofs, raised floors, plank walls, were thatched with reed or covered with hinoki cypress bark. Such early shrines did not include a space for worship. Three important forms of ancient shrine architectural styles exist: taisha-zukuri, shinmei-zukuri and sumiyoshi-zukuri They are exemplified by Izumo Taisha, Nishina Shinmei Shrine and Sumiyoshi Taisha and date to before 552.
According to the tradition of Shikinen sengū-sai, the buildings or shrines were faithfully rebuilt at regular intervals adhering to the original design. In this manner, ancient styles have been replicated through the centuries to the present day; the following is a diagram illustrating the most important elements of a Shinto shrine. Torii – Shinto gate Stone stairs Sandō – the approach to the shrine Chōzuya or temizuya – fountain to cleanse one's hands and face Tōrō – decorative stone lanterns Kagura-den – building dedicated to Noh or the sacred kagura dance Shamusho – the shrine's administrative office Ema – wooden plaques bearing prayers or wishes Sessha/massha – small auxiliary shrines Komainu – the so-called "lion dogs", guardians of the shrine Haiden – oratory Tamagaki – fence surrounding the honden Honden – main hall, enshrining the kami. On the roof of the haiden and honden are visible chigi and katsuogi, both common shrine ornamentations; the torii is a gate which marks the entrance to a sacred area but not a shrine.
A shrine may have any number of torii made of wood, metal, concrete or any other material. They can be found in different places within a shrine's precincts to signify an increased level of holiness. Torii can be found at Buddhist temples, however they are an accepted symbol of Shinto, as such are used to mark shrines on maps; the origin of the torii is unclear, no existing theory has been accepted as valid. They may for example have originated in India as a derivative of the torana gates in the monastery of Sanchi, located in central India; the sandō is the road approaching either a Buddhist temple. Its point of origin is straddled in the first case by a Shinto torii, in the second by a Buddhist sanmon, gates which mark the beginning of the shrine's or temple territory. There can be stone lanterns and other decorations at any point along its course. There can be more than one sandō, in which case the main one is called omote-sandō, or front sandō, ura-sandō, or rear sandō, etc. B
Minka are vernacular houses constructed in any one of several traditional Japanese building styles. In the context of the four divisions of society, minka were the dwellings of farmers and merchants; this connotation no longer exists in the modern Japanese language, any traditional Japanese-style residence of an appropriate age could be referred to as minka. Minka are characterised by their roof structure and their roof shape. Minka developed through history with distinctive styles emerging in the Edo period; the term minka means "houses of the people". It covers houses that accommodated a wide variety of people from farmers to village headmen and low level samurai. Minka come in a wide range of styles and sizes as a result of differing geographic and climatic conditions as well as the lifestyle of the inhabitants, they fall into one of four classifications: farmhouses nōka town houses machiya, fishermen's dwellings gyoka and mountain dwellings sanka. Unlike other forms of Japanese architecture, it is the structure rather than the plan, of primary importance to the minka.
Minka are divided up with primary posts that form the basic framework and bear the structural load of the building. Despite the wide variety of minka, there are eight basic forms. The'inverted U' consists of two vertical posts fixed at the top with a horizontal beam; the beam can be fixed to the top of the post either by resting upon it or via a mortise and tenon joint. This latter method is found in minka on the island of Shikoku. The'ladder' has post and beam units connected with larger beams including beams that are closer to the foundation level; this form of structure originated in townhouses of the Edo period. The system allows the irregular placement of posts and, allows flexibility in the plan. With the'umbrella' style, four beams radiate out from a central post; these posts sit at the centre of the square rather than the corners. Minka of this type are found in Shiga Prefecture. The'cross' has two beams at right angles to one another with the posts in the centre of the sides, it is used for small minka that have no other posts erected in the space or for large minka in the earth-floored area.
The style is most found in Shiga and Fukui prefectures.'Parallel crosses' are found in Shizuoka Prefecture and cover an area 5 metres by 10 metres. This system doubles up the ` cross' structure with eight posts; the ` box' structure connects four or more beam units to create a box-like structure. It can be found in Toyama and Ishikawa prefectures. The'interconnected box' can be found in Kyoto and Osaka.'Rising beams' is a form that enables better use of the second storey. It uses beams that rise from the posts to a secondary ridge, below the one formed by the rafters. Thatched roof farmhouses based upon the'rising beam' structure can be further classified into four major types; the yojiro-gumi and the wagoya are rare. The latter of these, the wagoya, is popular for machiya houses. Far more common are the odachi types; the odachi style has rafters and short vertical posts to support the ridge. These posts would have extended to the ground resulting in a row of posts extending down the centre of the house and dividing it.
Although these could be accommodated in the layout of the main house, they were impractical in the earth-floored entrance area—so they were omitted and a special beam structure used instead. This style was in wide use until the Edo period; the sasu style is a simpler triangular shape with a pair of rafters joined at the top to support the ridge pole. The ends of these rafters were sharpened to fit into mortice holes at either end of crossbeam; as this system does not rely on central posts it leaves a more unobstructed plan than the odachi style. There were two main methods for setting out the floor plan of the minka; the kyoma method uses a standard size of tatami mat, whereas the inakama method is based upon column spacing. The kyoma method works well for minka without central columns as the mats and the sliding partitions can be based on a standard size, it was used in minka in eastern Japan. The method has its disadvantages if used with posts because variations in post width can make the prefabrication of the sliding partitions difficult.
The inakama method is based upon the distance between centre of one post and centre of the post adjacent to it and it was used on the eastern side of Japan. The size and decoration of a minka was dependent upon its location and social status of its owner. Minka were influenced by local building techniques and were built with materials that were abundant in the immediate locality. For example, minka in Shizuoka used abundant bamboo for roofs, eaves and floors; when miscanthus reeds were difficult to obtain for thatched roofs, shingles were used instead. Climate had a bearing on construction: In Kyoto in the late Heian and Muromachi periods, roofs were clad in thin wooden shingles so owners would put stones on top to prevent the shingles from flying away in the wind; the social status of the minka owner was indicated by the complexity of the building. For thatched roof minka the nu
Kura are traditional Japanese storehouses. They are durable buildings built from timber, stone or clay used to safely store valuable commodities. Kura in rural communities are of simpler construction and used for storing grain or rice; those in towns are more elaborate, with a structural timber frame covered in a fireproof, clay outer coating. Early religious kura were built in a "log cabin" style, whilst those used to store gunpowder were constructed from stone. Earthen kura, dozō have evolved a particular set of construction techniques in order to make them fireproof; the kura storehouse was used to store precious items. Other sorts of storehouses such as outbuildings and sheds were used to store more mundane items; the first kura appear during the Yayoi period and they evolved into takakura that were built on columns raised from the ground and reached via a ladder from underneath. They were prevalent on the Ryukyu Islands and Amami Ōshima. During the Nara period the government taxed the country in rice and kura were used to store it.
After the introduction of Buddhism to Japan kura were used to religious items such as sutra. In a domestic situation, traditional Japanese houses had limited storage space; the sliding fusuma used to divide up rooms were used for the same purpose to create storage space, otherwise there was limited storage under the kitchen and sometimes an attic space was formed in the roof. Although a few important possessions may have been displayed, available storage was taken up by things like futons that were folded away each morning. In addition, many families possessed a wide array of accoutrements required for Japan's cultural festivals and these needed to be stored somewhere safe when not in use; the traditional houses were built of timber and prone to destruction by fire, so a more durable solution was required to store precious items. Earthen kura became a status symbol, with the greater number of kura indicating the greater wealth of the owner; this led some merchants to build three storey kura. Due to Kitakata's historic prominence of being the nation's "city of kura" and storeplace of preservable goods, it has been said by locals that "one who doesn't own a kura by the time they are 40 is not yet a man".
Azekura have descended in style from the Yayoi period when triangular section logs were used for building. Historic examples have been preserved within the compounds of Shintō shrines; the most famous examples are the Shōsōin at Tōdai-ji in Nara, storehouses at the Tōshōdai-ji in Nara and the Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima. These kura have all been dedicated to storing cultural treasures; the timbers used in these kura were thicker than other types of wooden storehouses so they were more durable, they were vulnerable to fire and relied upon separation from adjoining buildings to provide the best fire protection. As such they were unsuitable for urban situations. Roofs were either covered in cypress bark; when the Buddhists arrived in Japan they brought the knowledge of using plaster walls with them. However the azekura style continued to be used; the owner had to firstly have enough possessions to merit building one, the timber used was expensive and they had to own enough land to suitably situate them from other buildings.
This raised log structure gained a religious significance and the style of domestic kura moved elsewhere. Board-wall kura were traditionally built in farming communities. Like the azekura above they were vulnerable to fire and were built some distance from other farm buildings. Examples can still be found in the village of Shirakawa in Gifu, they are constructed from a grid of heavy timbers laid to form a foundation, with posts and braces forming bracing for the walls. The interior walls are lined with heavy boards fixed on the inner side. In the case of the kura in Shirakawa, the roofs are thatched in a similar manner to gasshō-zukuri. Traditionally grain was stored on the ground floor with household items stored on the upper floor. There are two types of stone kura; the first has a roof made up by piling up stone blocks. The former were built in the Edo period and used for storing firearms and ammunition, such as the one in Osaka Castle which has walls 1.9m thick. Remains of houses on the island of Dejima in Nagasaki that were built by Dutch traders in the Edo Period were built using the latter method, with wooden structure faced with stone.
Kura in the vicinity of the Ōya quarry near Utsunomiya, Tochigi had roofs made from Ōya Stone. This is an inexpensive tufa, soft and carved but is waterproof, it was used by Frank Lloyd Wright on the Imperial Hotel, Tokyo. Nikkō stone obtained from the same quarry as Ōya stone has a finer grain and was used for ornamentation on the exterior of kura. Earthen dozō kura are a common sight in Japan and the basic form is seen with only minor variations; the basic wood-framed, plaster-walled, tiled-roof design maintains a stable temperature and humidity throughout the year. Personal belongings kept in this type of kura tended to be kept in beautifully crafted wooden chests called tansu that would be located on a raised floor or balcony within. Although they became more popular in the Edo period, references to them are found in Heian period where statutes were written to govern the distances between kura in towns in order to prevent the spread of fire. Most tradit
A tahōtō is a form of Japanese pagoda found at Esoteric Shingon and Tendai school Buddhist temples. It is unique among pagodas because it has an number of stories, its name alludes to Tahō Nyorai, who appears seated in a many-jewelled pagoda in the eleventh chapter of the Lotus Sutra. With square lower and cylindrical upper parts, a mokoshi'skirt roof', a pyramidal roof, a finial, the tahōtō or the larger daitō was one of the seven halls of a Shingon temple. After the Heian period the construction of pagodas in general declined, new tahōtō became rare. Six examples, of which that at Ishiyama-dera is the earliest, have been designated National Treasures. There are no examples in China, whether architectural or pictoral, of anything that resembles the tahōtō, although there is a Song dynasty textual reference to a'tahōtō with an encircling chamber'; the hōtō or treasure pagoda is the ancestor of the tahōtō and dates to the introduction to Japan of Shingon and Tendai Buddhism in the ninth century.
No wooden hōtō has survived, albeit modern copies do exist, stone, bronze, or iron specimen are always miniatures comprising a foundation stone, barrel-shaped body, pyramid roof, a finial. While the tahōtō is 3x3 ken, a larger 5x5 ken version exists, known as daitō or'large pagoda'; this is the only type of tahōtō to retain the original structure with a row of pillars or a wall separating the corridor from the core of the structure, abolished in smaller pagodas. Daitō used to be common but, of all those built, only a few are still extant. One is at Wakayama prefecture's Negoro-ji, another at Kongōbu-ji, again in Wakayama, another at Kirihata-dera, Tokushima prefecture, another at Narita-san in Chiba. Kūkai himself, founder of the Shingon school, built the celebrated daitō for Kongōbu-ji on Kōyasan; the specimen found at Negoro-ji is 30.85 meters tall and a National Treasure. Japanese pagodas have an odd number of stories. While the tahōto may appear to be twin-storied, complete with balustrade, the upper part is inaccessible with no usable space.
The lower roof, known as a mokoshi, provides the appearance of an additional storey. Raised over the kamebara or'tortoise mound', the ground floor has a square plan, 3x3 ken across, with a circular core. Inside, a room is marked out by the shitenbashira or'four pillars of heaven', a reference to the Four Heavenly Kings; the main objects of worship are enshrined within. Above is a second'tortoise mound', in a residual reference to the stupa. Since exposed plaster weathers a natural solution was to provide it with a roof, the mokoshi. Above again is a short, cylindrical section and a pyramidal roof, supported on four-stepped brackets. Like all Japanese pagodas, the tahōtō is topped by a vertical shaft known as the sōrin; this comprises the base or'dew basin'. The finial's division in sections has a symbolic meaning and its structure as a whole itself represents a pagoda. A number of smaller versions of the tahōtō are known, of stone, iron, or wood, similar to the hōtō. A number of mandala show the Iron Stupa in southern India, where the patriarch Nāgārjuna received the Esoteric scriptures, as a single-storey pagoda with a cylindrical body, a pyramidal roof, a spire.
The forms used in the tahōtō, namely the square, triangle, semi-circle, circle, may represent the Five Elements or the Five Virtues. The egg-shaped stupa mound or aṇḍa may represent Mount Sumeru, with the finial as the axis of the world; the tahōtō served not as a reliquary tower but as an icon hall. Tō List of National Treasures of Japan Pagoda Stupa
In Japanese architecture, an engawa or en is an edging strip of non-tatami-matted flooring wood or bamboo. The ens may run around the rooms, on the outside of the building, in which case they resembles a porch or sunroom; the en is outside the translucent paper shōji, but inside the amado storm shutters. However, some en run outside the amados. Ens that cannot be enclosed by amados, or sufficiently sheltered by eaves, must be finished to withstand the Japanese climate. Modern architecture encloses an en with sheet glass. An engawa allows the building to remain open in the rain or sun, without getting too wet or hot, allows flexible ventilation and sightlines; the area under an engawa is sloped away from the building, paved, to carry the water away. The area directly outside the paving is a collector drain that takes water still further away; the engawa is thus a way to bridge the obstacles good drainage puts between the indoors and the outdoors. En means an edge; the terms en and engawa were used interchangeably, but engawa now refers to the veranda directly outside the shutters.
Types of en include: hiro-en, an inner en enclosed ochi-en, an en set one step below the floor inside it nure'en a "wet en", an en protruding from under the eaves and not protected by amado. If there are fewer than three ens, an en may be described by more than one of the positional terms. Mawari-en, a wrap-around en a wrap-around veranda kirime-en, a en with boards running across its width kure-en, a en with boards running along its length sunoko-en, a veranda with a slatted floor for better drainage takesunoko-en, a bamboo sunoko-en The core of a traditional building is the innermost room or moya; this is surrounded by the hisashi, on the same level, is inside the windows and amado storm shutters. The hisashi is a ring of tatami-floored rooms, but may be an unmatted en. In a large building, there may be further layers of tatami-floored rooms and further floorplan complications. Engawas are proportioned so that one can sit on the edge and observe the garden, they provide a space for casual visitors.
An engawa is part of the house, shoes are therefore not worn on it. Guests' shoes are lined up pointing outwards. While engawas declined with the Westernization of Japanese architecture, they are making a comeback in modern architecture
An irori is a traditional Japanese sunken hearth. Used for heating the home and for cooking food, it is a square, stone-lined pit in the floor, equipped with an adjustable pothook – called a jizaikagi and consisting of an iron rod within a bamboo tube – used for raising or lowering a suspended pot or kettle by means of an attached lever, decoratively designed in the shape of a fish. Fahr-Becker, Gabriele. Ryokan - A Japanese Tradition. Cologne: Könemann Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. ISBN 3-8290-4829-7
Machiya are traditional wooden townhouses found throughout Japan and typified in the historical capital of Kyoto. Machiya and nōka constitute the two categories of Japanese vernacular architecture known as minka. Machiya originated as early as the Heian period and continued to develop through to the Edo period and into the Meiji period. Machiya housed urban merchants and craftsmen, a class collectively referred to as chōnin; the word machiya is written using two kanji: machi meaning "town", ya meaning "house" or "shop" depending on the kanji used to express it. Machiya in Kyoto, sometimes called kyōmachiya defined the architectural atmosphere of downtown Kyoto for centuries, represent the standard defining form of machiya throughout the country; the typical Kyoto machiya is a long wooden home with narrow street frontage, stretching deep into the city block and containing one or more small courtyard gardens or tsuboniwa. Machiya incorporate earthen walls and baked tile roofs, could be one, one and a half, two, or even three stories high.
The front of the building traditionally served as the retail or shop space having sliding or folding shutters that opened to facilitate the display of goods and wares. Behind this mise no ma, the remainder of the main building is divided into the kyoshitsubu or "living space", composed of divided rooms with raised timber floors and tatami mats, the doma or tōriniwa, an unfloored earthen service space that contained the kitchen and serves as the passage to the rear of the plot, where storehouses known as kura are found. A hibukuro above the kitchen serves as a chimney, carrying smoke and heat away and as a skylight, bringing light into the kitchen; the plot's width was traditionally an index of wealth, typical machiya plots were only 5.4 to 6 meters wide, but about 20 meters deep, leading to the nickname unagi no nedoko, or eel beds. The largest residential room, located in the rear of the main building, looking out over the garden which separates the main house from the storehouse, is called a zashiki and doubled as a reception room for special guests or clients.
The sliding doors which make up the walls in a machiya, as in most traditional Japanese buildings, provide a great degree of versatility. However, the remainder of the building might be arranged to create smaller rooms including an entrance hall or foyer, butsuma, and naka no ma and oku no ma, both of which mean "central room". One occasion when rooms are altered is during the Gion Matsuri, when families display their family treasures, including byōbu paintings and other artworks and heirlooms in the machiya. Machiya provide space for costumes, portable shrines and other things needed for the festival, as well as hosting spectators along the festival's parade route. Machiya design addresses climate concerns. Kyoto can be quite cold in winter, hot and humid in the summer. Multiple layers of sliding doors are used to moderate the temperature inside. Machiya homes traditionally made use of different types of screens which would be changed with the seasons; the open air garden courtyards aid in air circulation and bring light into the house.
The front of a machiya features wooden lattices, or kōshi, the styles of which were once indicative of the type of shop the machiya held. Silk or thread shops, rice sellers and liquor stores, among others, each had their own distinctive style of latticework; the types or styles of latticework are still today known by names using shop types, such as Itoya-gōshi or Komeya-gōshi. These lattices sometimes jut out from the front of the building, in which case they are called degōshi. Unpainted, the kōshi of hanamachi were painted in bengara, a vermillion or red ochre color; the facade of the second story of a machiya is not made of wood, but of earthwork, with a distinctive style of window known as mushiko mado. The main entrance into a machiya consists of two doors; the Ō-do was used only to transport goods, or large objects, into the building, while the smaller kugurido, or "side door", was for normal, everyday use, i.e. for people to enter and exit. Machiya communities can be compared to the hutongs of Beijing.
Small neighborhoods made up of grouped homes organized on both sides of a narrow street, sometimes with small alleyways in between the homes, help to create a strong sense of community. In addition, many areas were traditionally defined by product; the Nishijin neighborhood, for example, is famous for its textiles. Machiya are disappearing. Machiya are difficult and expensive to maintain, are subject to greater risk of damage or destruction fr