Posts Tagged ‘Shiraka-go’

In response to my last blog about log houses, a Japanese friend of mine – Mustang.Koji – recently mentioned the wooden homes of Shirakawa-go, Japan.


This was my introduction to the Minka wooden homes of Japan.


The term Minka (民家 literally “house of the people”)  covers houses that traditionally accommodated a wide variety of people such as farmers, artisans, and merchants (i.e., the three non-samurai castes).


My understanding is that these homes are traditionally made completely of wood. No nails used in construction!

minka-4(Gasshō style roof – farmhouse)

The Gasshō-zukuri (合掌造) style minka have vast roofs that are a large form of the sasu structural system. Their name derives from the similarity of the roof shape to two hands in prayer. They are frequently found in Gifu Prefecture.

minka-5(Honmune style house with birdlike decoration on the gable)

Honmune-zukuri (本棟造) literally means “true ridge”. The style has a nearly square plan with a gabled roof that is board covered. The gable end of the house is particularly impressive with its composition of beams, eaves and braces. The gable is topped by a birdlike ornament called a suzume-odori (雀踊り). Houses of this type can be found in Gunma, Nara, Yamaguchi and Kouchi prefectures.

Traditional-Hearth(Traditional Japanese hearth – irori [囲炉裏)])

These houses fascinate me!

minka-Ogimachi_Village(Gasshō-zukuri, Ogimachi Village)

Thanks to Mustang.Koji for bring this style of architecture to my attention… and to yours.



Read Full Post »