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
Ise Grand Shrine
The Ise Grand Shrine, located in the city of Ise, Mie Prefecture of Japan, is a Shinto shrine dedicated to the sun goddess Amaterasu. Known as Jingū, Ise Jingū is a shrine complex composed of a large number of Shinto shrines centered on two main shrines, Naikū and Gekū; the Inner Shrine, Naikū, is located in the town of Uji-tachi, south of central Ise, is dedicated to the worship of Amaterasu, where she is believed to dwell. The shrine buildings instead joined wood; the Outer Shrine, Gekū, is located about six kilometers from Naikū and dedicated to Toyouke-Ōmikami, the god of agriculture, rice harvest and industry. Besides Naikū and Gekū, there are an additional 123 Shinto shrines in Ise City and the surrounding areas, 91 of them connected to Naikū and 32 to Gekū. Purportedly the home of the Sacred Mirror, the shrine is one of Shinto's holiest and most important sites. Access to both sites is limited, with the common public not allowed beyond sight of the thatched roofs of the central structures, hidden behind four tall wooden fences.
However, tourists are free to roam the forest, including its ornamental walkways after Meiji period. During the Edo period, it is estimated that one out of ten Japanese conducted an Okage Mairi pilgrimage to the shrine. Accordingly, pilgrimage to the shrine flourished in both religious frequency; because the shrine is considered sanctuary, no security checkpoints were conducted, as it was considered sacrilege by the faithful. The two main shrines of Ise are joined by a pilgrimage road that passes through the old entertainment district of Furuichi; the chief priest or priestess of Ise Shrine must come from the Imperial House of Japan and is responsible for watching over the Shrine. The current high priestess of the shrine is Sayako Kuroda. Around the 6th Century CE, the Yamato Court declared their lineage to Amaterasu, which created a connection between the court and Ise Shrine; this declaration of lineage would be a passed belief of the future emperors to come. According to the Nihon Shoki, around 2000 years ago the divine Yamatohime-no-mikoto, daughter of the Emperor Suinin, set out from Mt. Miwa in modern Nara Prefecture in search of a permanent location to worship the goddess Amaterasu, wandering for 20 years through the regions of Ohmi and Mino.
Her search brought her to Ise, in modern Mie Prefecture, where she is said to have established Naikū after hearing the voice of Amaterasu saying " is a secluded and pleasant land. In this land I wish to dwell." Before Yamatohime-no-mikoto's journey, Amaterasu had been worshiped at the imperial residence in Yamato briefly at Kasanui in the eastern Nara basin. When Princess Yamatohime-no-mikoto arrived at the village of Uji-tachi, she set up fifty bells to designate the area as enshrined for the goddess Amaterasu, why the river is called the Isuzu, or "fifty bells". Besides the traditional establishment date of 4 BCE, other dates of the 3rd and 5th centuries have been put forward for the establishment of Naikū and Gekū respectively; the first shrine building at Naikū was erected by Emperor Tenmu, with the first ceremonial rebuilding being carried out by his wife, Empress Jitō, in 692. The shrine was foremost among a group of shrines which became objects of imperial patronage in the early Heian period.
In 965, Emperor Murakami ordered imperial messengers to be sent to report important events to the guardian kami of Japan. These heihaku were presented to 16 shrines including the Ise Shrine. From the late 7th century until the 14th century, the role of chief priestess of Ise Shrine was carried out by a female member of the Imperial House of Japan known as a saiō. According to the Man'yōshū, the first saiō to serve at the shrine was Princess Ōku, daughter of Emperor Tenmu, during the Asuka period. Mention of Ise Shrine's saiō is made in the Aoi and Yugao chapters of The Tale of Genji as well as in the 69th chapter of The Tales of Ise; the saiō system ended during the turmoil of the Nanboku-chō period. During the Empire of Japan and the establishment of State Shinto, the position of chief priest of the Ise Shrine was fulfilled by the reigning emperor and the Meiji, Taisho and Shōwa Emperors all played the role of chief priest during their reigns. Since the disestablishment of State Shinto during the Occupation of Japan, the offices of chief priest and most sacred priestess have been held by former members of the imperial family or their descendants.
The current chief priest of the shrine is adoptive son of Takatsukasa Kazuko. He succeeded Kitashirakawa Michihisa, a great-grandson of Emperor Meiji, in 2007. Takatsukasa Kazuko was succeeded by Ikeda Atsuko. In 2012, Ikeda was joined by her niece Sayako Kuroda, sole daughter of reigning Emperor Akihito, to serve as a high priestess under her. On 19 June 2017, Sayako replaced her aunt as supreme priestess; the architectural style of the Ise shrine is known as shinmei-zukuri, characterized by extreme simplicity and antiquity: its basic principles date back to the Kofun period. The shrine buildings use a special variant of this style called Yuitsu-shinmei-zukuri, which may not be used in the construction of any other shrine. Yuitsu-shinmei-zukuri style mimics the architectural features of early rice granaries; the old shrines are dismantled and new ones built on an adjacent site to exacting specifications every 20 years at exorbitant expense, so that the buildings will be forever new and forever ancient and original.
The present buildings, dating from 2013, are the 62nd iteration to date and
Japanese castles were fortresses constructed of wood and stone. They evolved from the wooden stockades of earlier centuries, came into their best-known form in the 16th century. Castles in Japan were built to guard important or strategic sites, such as ports, river crossings, or crossroads, always incorporated the landscape into their defenses. Though they were built to last and used more stone in their construction than most Japanese buildings, castles were still constructed of wood, many were destroyed over the years; this was true during the Sengoku period, when many of these castles were first built. However, many were rebuilt, either in the Sengoku period, in the Edo period that followed, or more as national heritage sites or museums. Today there are more than one hundred castles extant, or extant, in Japan; some castles, such as the ones at Matsue and Kōchi, both built in 1611, remain extant in their original forms, not having suffered any damage from sieges or other threats. Hiroshima Castle, on the opposite end of the spectrum, was destroyed in the atomic bombing, was rebuilt in 1958 as a museum.
The character for castle,'城', by itself read as shiro, is read as jō when attached to a word, such as in the name of a particular castle. Thus, for example, Osaka Castle is called Ōsaka-jō in Japanese. Conceived as fortresses for military defense, Japanese castles were placed in strategic locations, along trade routes and rivers. Though castles continued to be built with these considerations, for centuries, fortresses were built as centres of governance. By the Sengoku period, they had come to serve as the homes of daimyōs, to impress and to intimidate rivals not only with their defences but with their sizes and elegant interiors. In 1576, Oda Nobunaga was among the first to build one of these palace-like castles: Azuchi Castle was Japan's first castle to have a tower keep, it inspired both Toyotomi Hideyoshi's Osaka Castle and Tokugawa Ieyasu's Edo Castle. Azuchi served as the governing center of Oda's territories, as his lavish home, but it was very keenly and strategically placed. A short distance away from the capital of Kyoto, which had long been a target of violence, Azuchi's chosen location allowed it a great degree of control over the transportation and communication routes of Oda's enemies.
Before the Sengoku period, most castles were called yamajirō. Though most castles were built atop mountains or hills, these were built from the mountains. Trees and other foliage were cleared, the stone and dirt of the mountain itself was carved into rough fortifications. Ditches were dug, to present obstacles to attackers, as well as to allow boulders to be rolled down at attackers. Moats were created by diverting mountain streams. Buildings were made of wattle and daub, using thatched roofs, or wooden shingles. Small ports in the walls or planks could be used to deploy bows or fire guns from; the main weakness of this style was its general instability. Thatch caught fire more than wood, weather and soil erosion prevented structures from being large or heavy. Stone bases began to be used, encasing the hilltop in a layer of fine pebbles, a layer of larger rocks over that, with no mortar; this support allowed larger and more permanent buildings. The first fortifications in Japan were hardly what one associates with the term "castles".
Made of earthworks, or rammed earth, wood, the earliest fortifications made far greater use of natural defences and topography than anything man-made. These kōgoishi and chashi were never intended to be long-term defensive positions, let alone residences; the Yamato people began to build cities in earnest in the 7th century, complete with expansive palace complexes, surrounded on four sides with walls and impressive gates. Earthworks and wooden fortresses were built throughout the countryside to defend the territory from the native Emishi and other groups; these were built as extensions of natural features, consisted of little more than earthworks and wooden barricades. The Nara period fortress at Dazaifu, from which all of Kyūshū would be governed and defended for centuries afterwards, was constructed in this manner, remnants can still be seen today. A bulwark was constructed around the fortress to serve as a moat to aid in the defense of the structure; this was called a mizuki, or "water fort".
The character for castle or fortress, up until sometime in the 9th century or was read ki, as in this example, mizuki. Though basic in construction and appearance, these wooden and earthwork structures were designed to impress just as much as to function against attack. Chinese and Korean architecture influenced the design of Japanese buildings, including fortifications, in this period; the remains or ruins of some of these fortresses, decidedly different from what would come can still be seen in certain parts of Kyūshū and Tōhoku today. The Heian period saw a shift from the need to defend the entire state from
Taisha-zukuri or Ōyashiro-zukuri is the oldest Shinto shrine architectural style. Named after Izumo Taisha's honden, like Ise Grand Shrine's shinmei-zukuri style it features a bark roof decorated with poles called chigi and katsuogi, plus archaic features like gable-end pillars and a single central pillar; the honden's floor is raised above the ground through the use of stilts. Like the shinmei-zukuri and sumiyoshi-zukuri styles, it predates the arrival in Japan of Buddhism. 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. Izumo Taisha's honden over time has gone through profound changes that have decreased its size and changed its structure. In its present form, it is a gabled building 2x2 ken in size, with an entrance on the gabled end (a characteristic called tsumairi-zukuri. Like Ise Grand Shrine's, it has purely ornamental poles called chigi and katsuogi on a cypress bark-covered roof, plus archaic features like gable-end pillars and a single central pillar; this pillar has a diameter of 10.9 cm, has no obvious structural role and is believed to have had a purely religious significance. The external stairway is covered by an independent bark-covered roof; the honden's interior is a square divided into four identical sections, each covered by 15 tatami. The floor plan has therefore the shape of the Chinese character for rice field, an element which suggests a possible connection with harvest propitiation rites; because its floor is raised above the ground, the honden is believed to have its origin in raised-floor granaries like those found in Toro, Shizuoka prefecture.
The oldest extant example of taisha-zukuri is the honden at Kamosu Shrine in Matsue, Shimane prefecture, built in 1582 and now declared a National Treasure. Smaller than Izumo Taisha's, it nonetheless has thick supporting pillars, it is deeper, has a higher floor, differs from Izumo Taisha's. It represents an older style of construction. History and Typology of Shrine Architecture, Encyclopedia of Shinto accessed on November 29, 2009 Fujita Masaya, Koga Shūsaku, ed.. Nihon Kenchiku-shi. Shōwa-dō. ISBN 4-8122-9805-9. Kishida, Hideto. Japanese Architecture. READ BOOKS. ISBN 1-4437-7281-X. Retrieved 2009-11-11. Young, David; the art of Japanese architecture. Architecture and Interior Design. Tuttle Publishing. ISBN 0-8048-3838-0. Retrieved 2009-11-11
The hachiman-zukuri is a traditional Japanese architectural style used at Hachiman shrines in which two parallel structures with gabled roofs are interconnected on the non-gabled side, forming one building which, when seen from the side, gives the impression of two. The front structure is called gaiden, the rear one naiden, together they form the honden; the honden itself is surrounded by a cloister-like covered corridor called kairō'. Access is made possible by a gate called rōmon, it has a hirairi or hirairi-zukuri structure, that is, the building has its main entrance on the side which runs parallel to the roof's ridge. There are entrances at the center of the gabled sides. In general, the rear structure is 3x2 ken, while the front one is 3x1; the space between the two structures forms a room called ai-no-ma. The actual width and height of this room vary with the shrine. Extant examples are Usa Shrine and Iwashimizu Hachiman-gū; this style, of which only five Edo period examples survive, may be of Buddhist origin, since some Buddhist buildings show the same division.
For example, Tōdai-ji's hokke-dō is divided in two sections laid out back. Structural details show a strong relationship with the Heian period style called shinden-zukuri used in aristocratic residences. Another possible origin of this style may have been early palaces, known to have had parallel ridges on the roof. Isaniwa Shrine in Matsuyama, Ehime, is a rare example of the hachiman-zukuri style
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