Relocating a traditional Japanese house

chiba-kominka
A kominka relocation in Chiba. Image via Kanazawa Architectural Design Office.

Finding land with a traditional Japanese building for sale in the right location can be close to impossible regardless of budget. But, there are a number of these old traditional kominka available for purchase and removal across the country. If you find the right piece of land you may be able to relocate an old house of your choosing to the land.

These buildings can be bought for next-to-nothing. The real cost is in the actual relocation, although you may be surprised to find out that relocation costs may be similar to the cost of building a brand-new, average home.

Iwate’s largest kominka to be historically listed

One of Tohoku’s finest and largest kominka’s from the late Edo Period, Kyu-Honokidate Residence, will soon be listed as an important cultural property. The main house and traditional storehouse sit on an 10,000 sqm block of land in Ichinohe Town, Iwate Prefecture.

The thatched-roof house has a total interior size of 490 sqm (5272 sqft) and was constructed in 1862. It was the home of a very wealthy farmer who owned extensive forestry and farmland. A total of 20 family members and servants were thought to have lived in the house at one time. The large dirt floor (doma) area on one side of the house was used as a workshop as well as a barn for horses and cattle.

Tsunami-damaged kominka to be moved to Shikoku

Many of Japan’s cultural properties were also damaged or destroyed by the March 11 Tohoku Disaster, including a 300 year old farmhouse (kominka) in Minamisanriku Town, Miyagi Prefecture.

The “Endo Residence” is over 500 meters from the coast, yet was picked up and moved about 20 meters by the March 11 tsunami. Despite the house being warped, the daikoku-bashira and thatched roof remain mostly intact in their original shape.

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