KURA: Traditional Japanese Warehouses in Shizuoka Prefecture 27: Akino Family House in Shimada City!



“Kura” (in Japanese 蔵 or 倉) means “warehouse” or “Storehouse”.
In traditional Japan, especially during the Edo Era, as most of buildings and urba/village structures were made of wood, fires were the bane of society by and large.
However well-protected a fire would consume a house or buildings and all its properties within minutes.
Hence a special building or warehouse was needed to protect goods and properties against such a catastrophe.
But erecting a storehouse solely made of concrete, stones and some metal cost a vast amount of silver and gold and only rich merchants and nobility could afford them. Even castles could not be built entirely of stone then.


the other day I noticed a kura hidden inside a big property and s\decided to investigate!
The whole property was locked up and unfortunately access and views were very limited in spite of its splendid state!


I decided to find the entrance of the property where I found this commemorative pillar erected beside the entrance gate!
It stated that this home erected during the Meiji Era was owned by the Akino Family and had been designated as a national Cultural Asset in 1935!


Beside the very door hung this name plate with name of Akino Family and a rare kind of Arms representing agricultural tools! The Arms were evidently inspired by those of noble families in Europe!
I found out later that the Akin Family was probably the richest and the most powerful family in Edo Period and beyond in Shimada City which was then one of the richest cities in the Prefecture!
Unfortunately in spite of its status as a Cultural Asset it is uninhabited and closed to the public although local politicians are fighting to have it open as a local Museum!


What I found hidden behind all manners of vegetation was not one but a double imposing kura!
I was told there was even a third one hidden by trees inside the promises!
The family must have been enormously rich!


Still in incredibly good state and repair!


Unusually tall walls with their alignment hooks still unmoved or unbent!
I was told the kura contained an incredible wealth of documents and what else!


A shame we can see only a glimpse of it all!


The double kura from the back!


All windows safely barred!


Splendid roofing!


It is good-by for the moment but I sincerely hope that one day I will be allowed to discover all that is hidden behind these trees!

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