A Guide to Kyoto’s Wooden and Traditional Architecture
Tokonoma (床の間) is the Japanese alcove that can be found in Japanese style buildings, including traditional residences and teahouses. It is a recessed space found commonly in the guest reception area of a building. Tokonoma is the part of the room where objects of artistic value, most often scrolls and an ikebana (flower arrangement), are on display and appreciated.
One of the most prominent structural elements of a Tokonoma is the supporting wooden pillar, or tokobashira (床柱). The choice of material and appearance varies from one type of building to another. For example, Sekka-tei (夕佳亭), the teahouse of the Golden Pavilion, is famous for its irregular and organic tokobashira. The construction of Tokonoma is often not as strict in the Sukiya tea house design where there is a more rustic and natural approach,. The tokobashira of Sekka-tei provides quite a contrast to the that to the more refined and formally restraint pillar of the Tokonoma inside the guest hall of Jikko-in Temple (実光院).


Even though Suikoushya International Craft School is now up and running in France, our Kyoto workshop will still continue to operate and we want to welcome you when you’re in Kyoto!

Here in Kyoto you can explore the many different wooden architectural treasures of Japan!

Tokonoma~Kyoto Traditional Architecture guide~