Archive for April, 2018


kanji koshi_Koshi / Latticework

Inu yarai, a traditional Japanese low fence typically made of bamboo shaped like a quartered oval, is used for keeping dogs from peeing on the exterior wall. It is also said to be used to keep away eavesdroppers on rainy days.

Design & Styles

  • senbon goshi

    Senbon goshi

    Senbon goshi, literally meaning one thousand strips, is latticework with tightly spaced narrow strips.

  • men goshi

    Men goshi

    Men goshi is latticework with wide planks instead of narrow strips.

  • kogaeshi goshi

    Kogaeshi goshi

    Kogaeshi goshi is latticework with eqally sized strips and gaps.

  • oyako goshi

    Oyako goshi

    Oyako goshi, literally meaning parent and child, is latticework with a combination of wider strips and narrower strips.

  • kiriko-goshi

    Kiriko goshi

    Kiriko goshi is latticework with with 2 to 4 strips trimmed at a regular interval on the top for lighting. The variations of this type was commonly adopted for businesses related to fabrics, which required more lighting.

  • ara goshi

    Ara goshi

    Sakaya goshi is same as Komeya goshi with a redish color paint finish, called Bengara


    senbon-goshi image



kanji for shachi_Shachi

A shachi or shachihoko is a roof ornament in the form of an imaginary animal with the head of tiger and the body of fish, which was believed to protect the building from fire.


    Shachi Okayama Castle

    Okayama Castle


kanji katana kake_Katana kake

Katana kake, literally meaning sword hanger, is a wooden shelf provided outside of a tea house, and it was once used for guests to leave their swords before entering the tearoom.


    katana kake of Shokintei

    Katsura Imperial Palace in Kyoto


kanji inuyarai_Inuyarai

Inu yarai, a traditional Japanese low fence typically made of bamboo shaped like a quartered oval, is used for keeping dogs from peeing on the exterior wall. It is also said to be used to keep away eavesdroppers on rainy days.


    inuyarai gallery




kanji tatami_Tatami / Mats

A tatami is a type of mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese architecture. Tatami mats are traditionally made of a straw core slab with a woven soft rush straw covering. They usually have edging of cloth for decoration and are manufactured in standardized sizes, with aspect ratio of 2:1.


There are four standardized size tatami, called Danchima, Edoma, Chukyoma,and Kyoma in Japan. Even though tatami is less commonly used in modern housing, it is still widely used as a unit of room size, jo. 6 jo(6 mats) Kyoma is much bigger than 6 jo Danchima, and that’s why it is important to understand the difference between them.

Tatami size comparison by type
  • 1.Danchima

    1700 x 850mm Danchiama sized tatami are the standardized size for public housing projects developed during 1970 and 1980s

  • 2.Edoma

    1760 x 880mm Edoma sized tatami are the most commonly used size around Tokyo and beyond.

  • 3.Chukyoma

    1820 x 910mm Chukyoma sized tatami are used mainly in around Aichi prefecture.

  • 4.Kyoma

    1910 x 955mm Kyoma sized tatami are used in the west of Kyoto prefecture.

6 jo Tatami Area difference

Kyoma vs Danchima

A typcial residential size room(6 jo) can be quite different in size depending on which type of tatami is used. 6 jo in Kyoma is whopping 25% bigger than 6 jo in Danchima. In other words, 6 jo in Kyoma is about 7.5 jo in Danchima.

Design & Style

  • ungen beri

    Ungen Beri

    It is heighest ranked design designated for rooms, where the emperor, retired emperor, and their wives lived. It is used for tatami in Seiryo-den Hall of Kyoto Imperial Palace.

  • Image of Daimon korai beri

    Daimon Korai Beri

    This design is used to be designated for princes and cheif advisors, but nowadays, you can see the design widely adopted in temples and shrines

  • shomon korai beri

    Shomon Korai Beri

    This design is used to be designated for high rank officials, but nowadays, you can see the design adopted in temples and shrines

  • tatami muji beri

    Muji Beri

    This is the most commonly used edge design, and it is usually made of synthetic fiber for cost and maintenance reasons.


It is difficult to perfectly align 4 corners, so in general, layout on the left is preferred unless formal design is required.You almost never see 4 corner layout in residential architecture, while it is not uncommon in formal or main rooms of temples and shrines.

jo Tatami Layout


kanji komainu_Komainu

Komainu is a pair of statues in the form of imaginary lion-like creatures, which is commonly found at the entrance of Shinto shrines.Komainu statues were used to be called Shishi-Komainu, in which the right statue is Shishi with the mouth open and the left is Komainu with the mouth closed.The horn on the head is also a distinctive feature of Komainu, compared to Shishi.

Design & Style

Aum(uh-un) gyo Style

When komainu was first introduced from China, both statues were identical. However, due to the influence from Buddhism, it gradually started to take the shape of aum gyo style, an open and closed mouth pair. A-gyo, the open mouth statue is installed on the right, while un-gyo, the closed mouth statue is installed on the left, symbolizing the beginning and the end.

image of komainu aum pair image of Nio aum pair

Shishi-Komainu pair

Komainu statues were used to be called Shishi-Komainu, where komainu, the left statue has the horn on the head, and Shishi, the right statue is hornless.

image of shishi-komainu pair


  • image of monkey komainu


  • image of fox komainu


  • image of wild boar komainu

    Wild boar

  • image of wolf komainu


Torii Gate

kanji torii_Torii Gate

A torii is a traditional Japanese gate, which marks the boundary between the sacred and mundane. Torii Gates are gnerally regarded as a symbol of Shinto shrines, and different styles and choice of materials can be found throughout Japan.

Design & Styles

myojin-torii features

Myoshin Torii

Myojin torii is more ornamental form of torii gate, characterized by the double lintels with curvature. In general, two columns have inward inclination, and lintels and tie beam are connected by a supporting strut called gakuzuka.

shinmei-torii features

Shinmei Torii

Shinmei torii is the simpler form of torii gate, characterized by the single straight lintel. In general, all elements are round in section and meet at right angles.


Oyunohara o-torii in Wakayama prefecture is the biggest torii in Japan and 33.9m(111ft) tall and 42m(137ft) wide.Meiji jingu daini torii in Tokyo is one of the biggest wooden made torii, and it is 12m(39ft) tall and 17.1m(56ft)wide.

torii size comparison


  • 1.Kasagi
  • 2.Shimagi
  • 3.Nuki
  • 4.Kusabi
  • 5.Shingaku
  • 6.Gakuzuka
torii terminology


  • image of ryobu torii

    Ryobu Torii
    Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima

    Ryobu torii is a member of Myojin torii Family, and its two pillards are supoorted on both front and back by short posts called yoji torii. The name, Ryobu is derived from Buddhism with which Shinto has a long association.

  • image of mitsu torii

    Mitsu Torii
    Mitsumine-jinja Shrine in Saitama

    Mitsu torii or Miwa torii is a Myojin torii with a smaller torii on both sides. Inward inclination of the pillards is less pronouced than other Myoshin torii family variants.

  • image of sanno torii

    San-no Torii
    Hie-jinja Shrine in Tokyo


    San-no torii is a variant of Myojin torii with a gable on top of the lintels.

  • image of kuroki torii

    Kuroki Torii
    Nomura-jinja Shrine in Kyoto

    Kuroki Torii, one of the oldest types of Shinmei torii Family, is made of wood with bark left untouched, from which its name, Kuroki is derived.

  • kara hafu torii

    Kara hafu Torii
    Itsukushima-jinja Shrine in Kyoto


    Kara hafu torii is a variant of Myojin torii with lintels shaped like a recurve bow in archery.

Byodo-in Temple

image of Byodo-in Facade
image of Byodo-in roof
image of Byodo-in gable
image of Byodo-in shingles

Byodo-in Temple

Visitor Information

Garden 9:00 – 17:30 (Last entry at 17:15)
Museum 9:00 – 17:00 (Last entry at 16:45)
Inside of Ho-o-do 9:30 – 16:10 (Every 20 minutes)
Holidays Open everyday
Adults 600 yen
Students(ages 13-18) 400 yen
Children(ages 6-12) 200 yen
Inside of Ho-o-do Additional 300 yen
Wheelchair Accessibility The garden and museum are accessible, but not inside of Ho-o-do.Handicap parking and bathroom are available.
Payment Cash Only

Architectural Information

Building Type Temple
Foundation 1053 / Heian Period
Architectural Style Wayo(Japanese Style)
Garden Style Jodo-shiki(Paradise Style)


Address 116 Renge Uji Uji-shi, Kyoto

Water Temple (Honpuku-ji)

image of JR Hoshakuji Station Exterior West
image of JR Hoshakuji Station Exterior East
image of JR Hoshakuji Station Concourse

Water Temple (Honpuku-ji)

Tadao Ando

Visitor Information

Hours 9:00-17:00
Open 7 days a week
Adult 400 yen
Children 200 yen
Wheelchair Accessibility No, exterior only
Payment Cash only

Architectural Information

Architects Tadao Ando
Structural Enginners This information is not available.
Main Contractor Daiko Kensetsu Co.Ltd
Building Type Temple
Structure Concrete
Floor Area 417 ㎡ / 4,488 sq ft
Floor count 1B (Half Underground Floor)
Completion 1991
Awards The BCS Prize 1993


Address 1310 Ura Awaji, Hyogo

JR East Hoshakuji Sta.

image of JR Hoshakuji Station Exterior West
image of JR Hoshakuji Station Exterior East
image of JR Hoshakuji Station Concourse
image of JR Hoshakuji Station Ceiling
image of JR Hoshakuji Station Detail

JR East Hoshakuji Stataion

Kengo Kuma

Visitor Information

Hours The concourse is open 24 hours.
Wheelchair Accessibility Yes

Architectural Information

Architects Kuma Kengo
Structural Enginners Sakagawa A&E Inc.
Main Contractor Totetsu Kogyo Co. Ltd.
Building Type Train Station
Structure Steel
Floor Area 918 ㎡ / 9,881 sq ft
Floor count 2F
Completion 2008


Address Tkanezawa-machi Shioya-gun,Tochigi