1. THE SUZUKI HOUSE
An Important Cultural Property of Kanagawa Prefecture
Original location:Matsukawa Town, Fukushima City, Fukushima Prefecture
(formerly Hacchome Post Town on the Oshu Highway)
Type of building: Inn (for horse dealers)
Built: Early 19th century
Structure & form: Front part －Hipped roof of thatch, partly two storeys
Length (parallel to ridge): 10.6 m, Width: 6.9 m
Rear part －Half-hipped roof of thatch, single storey
Length (parallel to ridge): 10.4 m, Width: 5.2 m
Stable (under hisashi) Width: 2.0 meters
Both front and rear ranges have shingled pent roofs (hisashi)
This building was a roadside inn used for lodging horse dealers travelling with their horses from breeding areas in the northern province of Nanbu to auction sites in Shirakawa (Fukushima Prefecture).
Horses were kept in the stable in the doma while the horse drivers stayed in the garret on the upper floor and horse dealers and samurai in the tatami-matted Tsugi-no-ma and Jōdan on the ground floor.
The part of the building facing the road has an upper floor and was used as guest quarters. The upward-sliding shutters, latticed windows, wooden sunscreen hanging from the hisashi and deep eaves at upper-floor level supported by cantilevered beams (a feature called a segai) are all typical of minka in post towns.
The use of upward sliding shutters (agedo), and a hinged main entrance door suggest a desire to make full use of the frontage of the house by making it open-able. The rear range of the house is a private area for family use, consisting of a Chanoma (living room), Katte (kitchen), Niwa (earth floored area) and Maya (stable) arranged in a linear fashion along the earth floored passage leading to the rear door. The front and rear ranges of the building have two separate thatched roofs connected in the form of a large “T”.
In addition to the main roof of thatch, the hisashi along the front of the building and over the stable are covered with riven wood shingles, each 3 to 5 mm thick – a roofing method known as kureitabuki. Note the harmonious effect created by the combination of thatch and kureitabuki.