An Edo Period Brewery Existing Today
Ridge-end Tiles from Kasagiya and Okura Residence

An Edo Period Brewery Existing Today Ridge-end Tiles from Kasagiya and Okura Residence

  • Periods: 1828
  • Dimensions: (tile) Height: 50cm, Width: 73cm, Thickness: 23cm
  • An Edo Period Brewery Existing Today Ridge-end Tiles from Kasagiya and Okura Residence
  • An Edo Period Brewery Existing Today Ridge-end Tiles from Kasagiya and Okura Residence
  • An Edo Period Brewery Existing Today Ridge-end Tiles from Kasagiya and Okura Residence

The existing Okura Residence, to the west of Gekkeikan's main office, was built in 1828 as a brewery-cum-residence by the eighth head of the family, Jiemon Okura. It is one of the largest merchant house-style buildings in Kyoto, and still retains the appearance of an old sake brewery, with a rice-washing area, intricate roof trusses supporting a large full-height ceiling, and a zashiki, or formal tatami-matted room , used for conducting business. The front shows the use of traditional mushikomado lattices on the upper floor and sakayagoshi lattices made from thick timbers joined together on the lower floor.

The center of the front of the onigawara, the decorative ridge-end tile from the main roof of the Okura Residence and now on display in the Gekkeikan Okura Sake Museum, features the mark of Kasagiya, what Gekkeikan used to be known as. The circle means “Harmony” (“enman”: “circle” in Japanese is “en”) and the diagonal line rising to the left represents the spirit of evolution, of not being bound by old ways. Another tile, with the family crest on it, is stamped with “Propitious Day, June, Eleventh Year of Bunsei [1828]” showing that it was erected in 1828.

Fushimi was badly damaged in the Battle of Toba-Fushimi, which broke out in 1868, and boathouses and merchant houses along this very street were lost to the flames. The flames got as close as directly to the north of the Okura Residence, right across the road, but luckily the house was spared, enabling it to be passed on to us today and serve as a valuable remnant of what a Fushimi sake brewery would have looked like in the Edo period.

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