Japanese architecture makes rain gutters aesthetic!

Rain gutters collect rain from rooftops and transport it to the sewer system. Japanese architecture has become more westernized and rain gutters are more likely to be unseen. However, Japanese architecture has put importance on their design to make them more aesthetic. Today, I’d like to focus on the history and materials used in making Japanese rain gutters.

2016-07-15 Wasabi   Culture,

Copper Rain Gutter


【CONTENTS】
The Japanese rain gutter can be seen everywhere, from temples & shrines, to general housing.
The gutter material used for temples and shrines
Let’s stroll the town to see the rain gutters! Japanese architecture is fun!
Japanese rain gutters can be appreciated throughout the year

Rain gutter
Rain gutter

The Japanese rain gutter can be seen everywhere, from temples & shrines, to general housing.

During the rainy season you’ll hear the sound of raindrops hitting rooftops. Rain gutters are used to transport the water to sewer systems, and you can find them everywhere in Japan. They were originally used at temples and shrines.

Thatched house
Thatched house

The oldest gutter is said to be the wooden gutter on Todaiji Temple. The temple was built in 733. During the Asuka period (592 to 710), roof tiles from China and Korea were used in the construction of temples and shrines. Thatched houses were more common, before the government promoted roof tiles in 1720 in order to prevent fires. Thatched houses absorb water, so there was no need for rain gutters.

The gutter material used for temples and shrines

In modern architecture, gutters are designed to not stand out, and the material is usually vinyl.

Rain gutters seen in western architecture
Rain gutters seen in western architecture

The material used in traditional Japanese architecture is copper. Copper has been used as a decoration for a temple’s roof, as well as their Mikoshi.

Osaka Castle
Osaka castle’s roof is made of copper.
Mikoshi
Mikoshi and its decorations.

Kazarishi creates fine patterns in the copper, and this traditional technique expresses Japanese beauty.

Let’s stroll the town to see the rain gutters! Japanese architecture is fun!

Let’s take a look at rain gutters in Nara, where you can find houses built during the Edo period (1603 to 1868).

Compare the two rain gutters; the one on the right has a unique features in its shape and traditional patterns.

Copper rain gutter

This one has a traditional decoration on the bottom part of the gutter where the water drains.

Rain gutter

Rain gutter

Both of them have traditional designs and blend in well with Japanese architecture.

Japanese rain gutters can be appreciated throughout the year

With the use of copper, the color changes as the time passes by. The older it gets, the greener it becomes, which looks unique.

Copper rain gutter
Copper rain gutter

The copper rain gutter blends in well with nature and expresses Japanese beauty.
It’s fun to watch the rain gutters in Japan during the rainy season. You might find some new discoveries that you have never known about.

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AUTHOR

kyoami

kyoami

Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.