We, the Ohashis, own a nationally important cultural property in Kurashiki-city, Okayama Prefecture. It is an old typical house for townspeople.
Most houses in Japan are made of wood unlike in European countries. Their gracefulness impresses us, but they have a fault in durability and are easy to catch fire, which leads to their decreasing in number.
Our house has fire prevention structure such as clay walls and clay warehouses. Luckily it survived the World War II and has never been in fire, which has allowed this overwhelming appearance to exist until today.
Here you can discover the essence of Japanese traditional wooden architecture, as well as the beauty of its appearance particular to Kurashiki.
Take off your shoes, and FEEL directly Wabi (subtle Taste) Sabi (elegant simplicity), the atmosphere which this house presents to you.
The Ohashis’ ancestors were capable Samurais, who served Toyotomi (a well-known warlord family who ruled Japan during Sengoku Era (the War Period just before the Edo Era)).
The Toyotomis were defeated in 1615, when Tokugawa replaced them. The Ohashis’ ancestors fled and lived under a big bridge, the Gojyo-Ohashi, in Kyoto, by which they were given the name大橋 (大＝big,橋=bridge).
In 1705, they moved to Kurashiki as a merchant, developed rice fields and salt farms as a large landowner, and made fortune in a bank at the same time.
The existing building, built in about 1796, has a gate, which also functions as a terraced-house.
Townspeople were not allowed to own such a large gate. Therefore this gate symbolized their high rank as a merchant.