Category Archives: Japanese Traditional Warehouses

Kura: Traditional Japanese Warehouses in Shizuoka Prefecture 39: Katsuyama Family Home in Kawane Cho, Shimada City!

“Kura” (in Japanese 蔵 or 倉) means “warehouse” or “Storehouse”.
In traditional Japan, especially during the Edo Era, as most of buildings and urba/village structures were made of wood, fires were the bane of society by and large.
However well-protected a fire would consume a house or buildings and all its properties within minutes.
Hence a special building or warehouse was needed to protect goods and properties against such a catastrophe.
But erecting a storehouse solely made of concrete, stones and some metal cost a vast amount of silver and gold and only rich merchants and nobility could afford them. Even castles could not be built entirely of stone then.

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The other my good friend Mr. Osamu Kurosawa/黒澤脩さん, a respected historian in our Prefecture took me to a house hidden in Kawane-Cho, not far from Ieyama, in Shimada City, to show me a splendid kura!

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Actually, the kura is only one building inside a vast property owned by the same family for hundred of years.
You must remember that in Edo Era, Shimada City was one of the most important cities in the whole Central Japan because it was a border City by the Ooi River controlling all traffic between Edo/Tokyo and Osaka!

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the name of the family owning the vast property is Katsuyama/勝山!

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Any rich landowner or person of great importance lived in a large house with servants quarters and a kura to store and protect rice and valuables in particular against fires and natural disasters!
The lady we met inside the house first kindly agree to let me take photographs of the warehouse under the gentle request of my friend, Osamu!

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Actually the kura has just been restored by its owner as you can see with the perfectly working windows!

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It actually took him more than a year to complete the job!

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The “pegs” are still properly aligned, meaning that the walls haven’t been affected by the depredations of time!

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The whole property ought to be used as a locale for historical movies or TV programs!

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Actually it should designated as a cultural asset and it should be the government’s task and duty to look after it!

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The pegs and metal links with the upper roof are still in great repair, meaning the uper roof is stable!

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This is the first time I see such a big “oni gara/goblin pinion tile”! That only should become a cultural asset!

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A closer view at the upstairs window!

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The roofing must be hard to maintain in good repair!

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A “rear” view!

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The other “oni gara”!

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The door and lock dating back from the Edo period!

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Heavy door panels had to be pulled in to close the door!

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Taken back to another era!

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I marveled at how it can have been preserved!

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The ancient “namako” design also is a good enough reason to designate it as a cultural asset as very recently even the Government was heard moaning about their disappearance! In fact, it is the first time I saw a pillar decorated in “namako” design!

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Actually the lower roof angle had to be propped up!

It is about time that the Government made a move!

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