The Basics of Japanese Architecture~Buddhist Temple~

Updated: Apr 10, 2020

Hi everyone, today's topic is Japanese #Architecture.

Before we start, let's make something clear, I'm not gonna talking about pit-house or other dwellings in ancient time, we just focus on #Buddhist Temple and Japanese #Shrines.

OK, first, we talk about Buddhist Temple,

Let's take a look at the following picture, that's from internet,

It's not very Japanese, and somehow similar with South Korean or Chinese Temple, right?

OK,The name of this is #Houryuji Temple, one of the #worldheritagesites in Japan, the picture above is the mission hall, set at the backyard of the precinct. We can not deny that it really looks like more continental style than Japanese style, because the idea came from China in #Asuka and #Nara era, I mean the #Buddhism.

3 Main Temple Styles in Japan

And then, let's move on to our focus, the Japanese-Style(和様), emerged in 10th century, one of the 3 main styles.

I'll give you some imagines,

Well, if you still can't get what's the difference, let me share with you some facts,

The roof structure, the whole roof is splitted to 2 parts, body and eaves

(If you can read Japanese, here's an excllent article that you shouldn't miss
  • The lower ceiling

  • The raised-floor

  • The thinner pillar

  • The less decoraction

The 2nd one, #Buddha-Style(大仏様)13th Century

The following picture is a representive one, it's a very popular sightseeing spot in Nara,

called #Todaiji Temple, the building in the picture is its outer gate (南大門),

OK, I think it looks a little bit different with the former one, right?

When we look from the outside, we can feel it's actually grande, majesticm, and some kinda wilder. It was popular in a very limited period, Kamakura era,13th century, but faded out very soon.

Buddha Style owns the following features,

Roof Structure(No braket complex design, please also refer to this site:

And the #Nuki(貫)gradually took place of #Nageshi(長押), please google its difference bacause it's really complicated.

The last one, #Zen-Style(禅宗様)14th Century

Zen-Style has many common features with Buddha-style, they're almost the same,

but something little difference in the details, such as the use of katomado window(火灯窓), and also the use of #Nuki(貫)got intensified when Zen-Style became popular.

I just think Zen-Style is maybe closer with Japanese Garden and the #Samurai's residences. It's an integrated version of Japanese-Style and Buddha-Style.

you can see there's almost not any colorful item over its outside look, and the roofs are usually made from Japanese cypress, instead of the tiles that are widely used in the previous era.

There some more differences in the layout of the buildings, but we're gonna talk it in next time. 4 courses of Japanese Architecture, this one finished, we still have 3, see you again!

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