Shimoki Family House


ca. 1781 (Late Edo period)

Former Location:

Tsurugi, Mima, Tokushima Prefecture


Nationally Registered Important Cultural Asset

A house with a steep roof from a region with heavy snowfall

This home with a yosemune-zukuri (*1) thatched roof was built in Ichiu district, on the slopes of Mt. Tsurugi in western Tokushima Prefecture. Located on a steep slope some 1,000 meters up, it was built along with a storehouse and barn. The region sees heavy snowfall, so the roof is built with very steep sides to encourage the snow to slide off. The main house on display is called Honsanroku no Ie, because the upper floor is san-ken (5.4 meters) long and roku-ken (10.8 meters) wide.

Internal Layout

The interior has three spaces: the omote (parlor), naisho (bedroom) and niwa (earthen floor room). The niwa served as a workspace, and now holds a millstone and large pot. The elevated naisho has an irori fire pit and a kamado stove so that the residents could cook and do evening housework here.

Deep in the naisho

The naisho was divided into two spaces by a single pillar in the center. The space at the back was used for sleeping. This pillar is believed to have serve as a kind of threshold, designated the line that divides “inside” and “outside.”


The ceiling beams are arranged in an otoshikomi style, with a single pillar running through holes bored in the upper beams and lower beams. The Ichiu region is said to be the origin of this style.

Yukan no Ana

In the back there is a drainage pit for yukan, or corpse washing. When a family member died, the water used to wash the corpse would be drained here. This ritual carries the idea that the departed member’s spirit would then linger in the house.


Since the environment kept people indoors for most of the winter, several pits of various size were dug beneath the floor to store food like konjac balls and root vegetables.

*1: Yosemune-zukuriA type of hipped roof structure where the surfaces descend from the ridge in four directions.