A Guide to Kyoto’s Wooden and Traditional Architecture
One common feature of traditional Japanese Temple and Shrine architecture is the use of kibana (木鼻), which roughly translates to a “wooden nose” in English. Originally, kibana refers to the end part of a tie beam that protrudes from the pillar. As wooden architecture evolves over the years, kibana has become more decorative and in many cases, they are independent from the beam itself, while maintaining the expression that they’re part of the beam.
There are many styles of kibana. While some are more straightforward and abstract in their design, others are more elaborate, such as the zouhana (象鼻), which translates to an “elephant nose.” As seen here in Daikaku-ji Temple (大覚寺). Kibana is a wood carving artform all in itself. Be sure not to miss them the next time you visit a temple in Kyoto!

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!



kibana (木鼻)