Introducing Ko-Minka

Japanese Ko-Minka is like an accomplishment of housing culture which old people had established for long years. It must be very important to take over to the next generation. However, there are several negative aspects which do not fit with the current lifestyle, such as 'cold, dark, and inconvenience'. Therefore, many Ko-Minka have been demolished everywhere in Japan.
We, Araki-Komuten, have been working on not only renovating , but also relocating and reproducing Ko-Minka. Through preserving old-housing, people can review what it is to live with the nature. And then, they will know how different our current lifestyle and the old Japanese lifestyle are. We would be very happy if you could feel and know the goodness of the old Japanese houses through the below pictures.

Various faces in Ko-Minka

01 Irimoya-dukuri
This roof consists a gable roof as the upper side and a hipped roof as the lower one. There is Mushiko-mado at the attic space as an air path. *Mushiko-mado (a type of window containing a lattice of an air path.)
02 Another Irimoya-dukuri
This house consists of 13 layered Noshi-roofing Kawara-tiles. It is said that more layers means more wealthier.
The main entrance on the right side has a white line as a design. It is plastered Kanoko finish.
There is a chimney on the roof. This ventilator ejects coal smoke which is made at the irori fireplace.
04 Ayame-bari
The bicolor wooden fence which boards are shifted slightly and installed in piles of back and forth. The furring strips are painted in red as a decorative accent.
05 Yoroi-bari(Clinker-built)
At the half below of the front door and the wall(center in this picture), each wooden plate is overlapped 3 cm of both top and the bottom edges. It is because the rainwater neither stay at nor infiltrate the wooden plates.
06 Mochikaeri
It is rectangular triangle parts installed between the posts and the brackets. Those triangle parts support the weight of the brackets. In this case, there is a cloud design on the bottom of the mochikaeri-parts.
07 Noki-Geta(pole plate )
To support the large eaves, a thick pole plate is often installed under the rafters. Its surface asperity is processed by using an adze.
08 Irori(irori fireplace)
At the irori fireplace, you can make charcoal burn to warm yourself and to cook some foods. What is more, making coal fire helps killing insects or pests at the attic space.
09 Another Irori(irori fireplace)
In this picture, the irori fireplace exists in the center of the living life. A kettle is hanged down from the ceiling so that you can get warm by the fire and also boil water.
10 Entrance
A papered shouji is installed between shiki-kamachi* and sashigamoi.
Oukazai(horizontal structural members of a building) is originally carved with a ditch so that papered shouji (sliding doors) fit perfectly.
Kamachi*...frame sections of the door or window that provide most of its structural integrity
Sashigamoi...upper wooden frame on the papered shouji
11 Another Entrance
There is a small salver for a tea-cup on Shikidai(step in a Japanese entranceway). On the left-back, there is a partitioning screen on which hills and waters scenery are drawn.
12 Shikidai(step in a Japanese entranceway)
There is a large Hinoki step on the right. In Japan, the first floors are raised up to prevent humidity from housing. This step eliminates difference in level on the floor.
13 Shitajimado(a window of a structure)
In the upper front, there is five long and thin window for lighting and drafty. It is called shitaji-mado, because you can see the foundation of the window structure which is made by soot-colored bamboo(susudake).
14 Living Space
The wall is plastered to make use of wooden frames of vaulted ceiling. It conveys an image of a large and wide space.
15 Another Living Space
All windows at the terrace are opened so that the living space integrates with the landscape garden. Covering Hinoki-boards over the ceiling brings humidity conditioning effect in the room.
16 Bedding Space
Omoyagi(horizontal woods supporting the roof) are visually shown and the sloped ceiling structure is adopted.
The floor material is a pine-board, and the wall is plastered.
17 Another Bedding Space
Borderless tatami-mats are laid on the floor. It is produced to roll tatami-omote(weaved rush sheet) in the edges of a inner mat. This Ichimatsu pattern(a check design) are created by weaving rush with a different direction.
18 Dining Space
The sunlight is taken in from the blow-by. Kitchen is located in the front backside. There is a large papered shouji(sliding doors) on the right.
19 Wooden Framework
Most of Ko-minka housing have complicated wooden frames at the blow-by space. It seems like a work of art.
20 Another Wooden Framework
Depending on a design of attic space, it is possible to see the wooden frames from the top. Cedar boards are used as roofing board.
21 Other Wooden Framework
This is very simple framework. A skylight and an indirect lighting create several faces in the upper space.
22 Japanese Room
he front papered shouji screens have glass windows behind a sliding bottom half, called 'Yukimi-shouji'. It is easy to see snow outside from this glass window, without opening doors in winter.
23 Engawa-porch
There is a long engawa-porch behind the shouji doors which has
papered-glass window. In Japan, we enjoy sitting and talking here with
having a couple of tea.
24 Living Space
Shouji sliding doors and sash doors are installed just inside the wall. You can relax to see planting garden and a Japanese lantern. Chestnut tree boards are laid on floor.
25 Zashiki(a room floored with tatami mats or a reception room)
This room has a Biwa-doko(Biwa-alcove) in the back of the center, that is called because people decorated a fruit of loquat(Biwa) in old days to invite guests in.
There is a small shelf with fusuma doors just below the tokonoma(alcove). On the right side, you can see Syoin-Shouji.
26 Fusuma and Shouji
There are Shouji (papered sliding doors)in the backmost, and Fusuma in the middle ones, and another shouji doors in front. The Japanese plum trees are drawn on Fusuma of the middle.

27 Box-using Stairs
Staircase itself is a type of the box-using wall/stairs rack, and it is possible to move. Everyday things are stored to make use for life.
28 Hand-Wash Space
Shigaraki-ware is used for a hand-wash bowl. Hinoki-boards are applied on the wall because it is water resistant.
29 Kamado(a kitchen range)
This is a renovated Kamado. There are 3 fire openings in the middle to make a fire with woods.
30 Attic Space
Omoyagi(horizontal woods supporting the roof) and Nobori-joists are combined together. For a wall, re-mixed clay are applied twice.
31 Stairs
A master carpenter designed this stair. A mixture of Bengala(Indian red) and polishing powders are applied for this floor to finish in red.
32 Kyo-Karakami(Karakami-paper)
Kyo-Karakami is like a type of woodblock print, and it uses hand-carved printing blocks with traditional patterns. In front, the fusuma with Ichimatsu design(a check pattern) are installed.
33 Corridor
A plain cedar boards and patina dyed ones are attached alternately for a ceiling. Good atmosphere of an indirect lighting.
Tiles and mortar with coal are installed for the floor.