21. FERRYMAN’S HUT
An Important Cultural Property of Kawasaki City
Original Location: Suge, Tama Ward, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Type of Building: Ferryman’s hut
Form: Gabled roof of Japanese cedar bark shingles
Length (parallel to ridge): 1.8 m
Width: 1.8 m
This hut was located by the Suge Crossing of the Tama River. It was used by ferrymen waiting for their passengers, resting and keeping an eye on the riverside.
The Suge Crossing of the Tama River between Suge and Chōfu was established by the local people for carrying agricultural products, and purchasing fertilizer and everyday goods. It was also used for visiting relatives and temples.
This is a small hut, only 1.8 metres square with posts standing on sill beams interlocked at the corners, and set upon a field-stone base. The roof of cedar bark shingles has its ridge aligned with the front of the building, and an asymmetrical section, with a shorter slope at the front than at the rear, a form called a “maneki roof”. It has two sliding doors at the front, and solid timber walling on the other three sides, except for a small window on the back wall through which passengers on the other bank could be seen.
The front half of the interior is earth floored with a bench at the side and an open hearth in the center. The rear half has a tatami-covered floor about 30 cm high, spacious enough for a person to lie on. This was presumably used by the ferrymen for taking short rests.
On the corner posts, large iron rings are installed so that logs could be passed through and the whole hut could be lifted up and moved in case of flooding.