Taisha-tsukuri shrine architecture: roof construction

This blogpost looks at the key features of some of the earliest known Shinto shrines in Japan…

San'in Monogatari

Throughout the Izumo region, in cities such as Izumo, Matsue, and Unnan especially, there are ancient examples of Taisha-tsukuri shrine architecture. Izumo Taisha is the most famous and national treasure, and completed its Daisengu, a once-every-60-years rebuilding process in May of 2012. Kamosu Shrine is another treasure. With the current building constructed in since 1583, it stands as the oldest example of this architectural style. However, the style itself has been around since at least 552, and Izumo Taisha is likely a few centuries even older than that.

Like the Shinmei-tsukuri and Sumiyoshi-tsukuri styles found elsewhere in Japan, it predates the arrival of Buddhist influence. Therefore, there are some key features of these styles that you’ll find in Shinto shrines, but won’t find in Buddhist temples, such as the katsuogi (horizontal beams although the top of the central beam of the roof) and chigi (forked planks at the ends–or…

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