Japan Photo Essay: Inaka Architecture Posted on 2018/05/14 by davej Photographic inspiration from traditional Japanese countryside construction. Additional views here. View from the mountain across the valley of roof tops and rice fields. Backing right onto the steep mountain slope, water and soil control is very important. These buildings have stood here more than a century. Hundred year old traditional timberframe, exterior finish materials replaced in the last half century. Generations of expansion and addition make for tight courtyards and narrow streets. The kura (蔵, secure storage building) at lower right was originally a sakaya (造り酒屋, for selling sake) when first built. One of the oldest buildings on the property, originally a small residence for newlyweds (座敷, zashiki) added on to the father’s house compound. Hand hewn beams and warajuraku/tsuchikabe walls filled with clay and straw plaster on bamboo lath. Copper eavestrough, corrugated steel, and clay tiles are later additions but the main structure is intact. The small residence butted up against an older naya (納屋, barn/toolhouse) originally for making tofu now used as a workspace and tool storage area. Un-plastered tied bamboo lath visible through the gap indicates the later construction. End wall of naya, originally protected with shou sugi ban (焼杉板, vertical charred cedar siding), now with corrugated steel. Note the open bamboo lath vents/windows on gable. An old kura that lost its wood siding in a recent major typhoon. Handmade straw rope is revealed in the straw and clay wall as the rain weathers the surface. View of the kura roof construction as well as the original white plaster finish that has worn away to reveal the bamboo ribs inside the walls. Another angle of the kura roof construction showing the eaves. Kura are designed with thick walls for fire resistance and controlled temperature and humidity. Foundation stones and mounting boards for the wooden yakisugi / shou sugi ban (焼杉板) siding. This building will not last long in this condition, with the clay walls exposed to the weather. A rural family garden, in the background a kura in better repair joined with a kiya and home, all in shou sugi ban / yakisugi and forming three sides of a courtyard.