When people in Japan hear the word “machiya,” the image of the exterior of the townhouse and the “hashiri” or kitchen area probably spring to mind. of a machiya are often renovated to be more modern. However, the sink area, earthen walls and the high rise ceiling known as the ”hibukuro” remain intact.
The design of the machiya actually forms an optical illusion. Although a machiya may appear small from the outside, once inside you will notice a nearly 7 meter high ceiling. The pillars and beams are made from the trunks of large trees and have been installed in a way that the smaller sections are in the back, which creates a spacious feeling inside the machiya. It is almost as if you walk through a tunnel to enter another world. The owners and carpenters painstakingly came up with this layout to enable guests to pass under the entrance’s low ceiling and be struck by the architecture. Although, a machiya may appear to be simple in design, it is actually full of many hidden techniques and designs. Our next article will delve further into these spectacular and meticulous details.