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Machiya Special : Grid Design (Ko-shi)


Hello, everyone. I’m Yosuke.
How was the article “Machiya Special First : History of Machiya”?
Did you understand why each Machiya was designed closely together on narrow streets?

This is Machiya Special second, it’s about  Grid Design of Ko-shi.



There are a lot of Machiya in Kyoto, which were not burned by( survived ) World War Ⅱ. Most of Machiya were rebuilt and they aren’t retained the structure of the old days but there are some features that you can still find in a lot of Machiya in Kyoto.


One of the biggest features is lattice work (grid design). The grid designs are changed, depending on the characteristics of the business. In other words, latticeworks represent the sign of the store and each one has the meanings of the business.


Latticework tells you what Store it is

Ko-shi is used for windows and doors allowing the winds and lights come through but not enough for people outside to see inside and come into.
For that reason, Ko-shi has been used for not only stores but also castles.
You may see this latticeworks at castles, too.


4 Typical Machiya Grid design

Itoya Ko-shi (thread or textile store)

Lattice works are designed for lighting. Four wood blocks design refers textile store, three blocks is thread store, and two blocks are Kimono store. In Kyoto, you can see those kinds of design because a lot of Kimono store still remains.


Shimotaya (closed store)

These designs are used for the store closed. Each lattice works are structured by narrow wood.


Rice or sake store

The thick wood is used not to break when people hit the heavy straw rice bag or sake cask.Sumi


Charcoal store

Lattice works are designed not to spread the ash near the store. So width of the lattice is really narrow.

That’s all for Machiya special, Grid Design.
This time, I wrote about only four types of lattice works but there are so many kinds of lattice works, so it may be interesting to check the latticeworks when you walk around in Kyoto.

【For your additional information】

※ Machiya Special: History

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