In Nara prefecture there are many old residual houses which date back to the 17th century. The Akasuka residence in the city of Gose, is a townhouse which operated as an oil shop. The construction age is considered to be the end of the 17th century. It is a typical large-scale private house in Nara prefecture.
The form of private houses in Nara originally existed in two systems, the Nara Basin and the mountainous areas, and each developed separately until the 18th century. It is considered that since the 19th century, exchanges between the two have progressed and fused. Not only farmhouses, there are many remains of early modern townhouses, many of which date back to the 18th century. However, old townhouses have a similar floor format to farmhouses in that they have a large soil floor.
There are 4 rooms alongside a dirt floor used as a common entrance and kitchen area. On the West corner, a new entrance was established for important customers to the residence and shop.
There are two courtyards to the residence with an enclosed corridor reaching the northern toilet and store house separated the two outdoor areas. The construction is a typical gabled roof, post and beam construction. The interior sliding doors (fusama) are frames covered with heavy paper and sometimes can be detailed in paint or intricate wooden latticed patterns. The Fusuma does not touch the ceiling, therefore above the doors, there can be decorative grills placed for ventilation called ramma. This house in particular has intricate wooden carved grills above the tatami floor rooms, suggestion the residents were quite wealthy.
The Akatsuka House has been surveyed several times. By clarifying the characteristics of Akatsuka House from these materials, it can be used as a guideline for future expansion and renovation. The features are described below.
(I) The rooms along the dirt floor are the same as the original ones, but the details of the room also retain the remains of Genroku.
(Ii) The parlor that was expanded around the 18th century can be compared with the surrounding private houses, and is a case to follow the changes of each period.
(Iii) As it is still used, the structure itself is sturdy enough to withstand its current use.
Distribution of Machiya Town Houses
The Akatsuka House was surveyed and documented by Kuma Lab + Fujii Lab in Tokyo University during a two day field survey under the guidance of Professor Fujii who is an expert in wood restoration projects.