Monday, February 18, 2013

Nagoya Castle Main Palace is coming to life again

Main palace once was a large complex of one-storey wooden buildings with more than 30 rooms of different sizes and functions. Unfortunately they were all burnt down by air-raid in 1945.

The city decided to rebuild the National Treasure  for the 400th anniversary of the founding Nagoya City and started the construction in 2010.

It is good that the old documents, charts and photos were survived the destruction or fire during the war, this made the restoration work easier following the original palace of 17th century.

Take a look at those huge beams, pillars, and rafters.  Japanese cypress “Hinoki” is used for making these parts.

They are durable and lasts for hundreds of years.  One can see beautiful natural wooden patterns. Japanese cypress has good aroma and one can smell it from the lumbers.  As Japanese people love simplicity in nature, we don't paint the lumber to keep its natural color.

Aside from Japanese cypress,  cedar, pine, mulberry, and zelkova are also used in the different sections of the buildings.
Good qualities of those timbers are from several areas such as Gifu Prefecture, Nagono, Wakayama and some in Shikoku region. 

Please observe the beautiful roofs covered with  thinly cut woods called singles.

They are made of Japanese cedar which is quite resistant to rain.
Carpenters lay thin singles precisely in an overlapping pattern starting from bottom to roof top.

Do you know how do they seal singles? They use bamboo nails. They are durable and free from rusting.
The carpenter put some tiny bamboo nails into his mouth.  When he use it,  he takes out one by one from his mouth.  Then he presses a bamboo nail hard against a single then quickly hit it by a hammer. Amazing skill.

Usually there are about twenty to forty carpenters including several young women carpenters working daily in this location.
Aside from carpenters, other craftsmen such as stone workers, plasterers, roof tilers, lacquer workers are working inside and outside the buildings.
Most of them are from Tokai area.  The city is planning to hire them for long term maintenance.

This huge reconstruction project is very significant for craftsmen to study and hand down the Japanese traditional art of carpentry to the next generation.

One section of the palace will be open to the public this May.  The whole restoration will be completed in 2018.
Anyone will be able to see this on-going construction  from the special walkway for the visitors. You can't miss this rare chance.

More about on Nagoya Castle Main Palace Restoration is here


The Chair Speaks said...

For a second, I thought it would be a scaled down version but it's going to be the same size! Looking forward to pictures of the completed section soon.

Manisha Kundu-Nagata said...

I am so much looking forward to visiting the Main Palace of the castle. I had been to the castle last year and the palace was under construction that time... I love visiting Japan's castles, temples, and shrines. The architecture of the bygone era is amazing and so elegant.

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