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Machiya in Takamatsu

One of the few remaining machiya in Takamatsu.


Machiya Takamatsu

As a reminder, machiya are traditional Japanese townhouses, with their instantly recognizable architecture and design. When you think of those houses, cities like Kyoto or Nara come to mind, as well as a few villages and smaller towns all around the country, but back in the days the houses of most cities were machiya. They disappeared for many reasons, be it modernization or natural disasters such as earthquakes and ensuing fires.

In the case of Takamatsu, traditional houses are very rare and mostly limited to two neighborhoods. There this is one, relatively close to the city center (the picture of the tatami maker was taken on the same street by the way), and another neighborhood, in the south of the city (it formerly was a whole separate village) called Busshozan. The latter is more famous, probably because of Honen-ji, its temple, and its historical relevance; it used to be the daimyo’s family temple and the village grew from there. However, I like that the other neighborhood downtown survived too. And “survive” is not an exaggeration here. As I mentioned, Takamatsu has almost no traditional buildings and one of the reasons is the bombings of July 4th, 1945 that razed 80% of the city. This street was somehow spared. I assume that this area wasn’t built much back then, except for that one street, as it was the main street to go to the western part of Kagawa at the time.

I’m not sure how long they’ll remain, though. They are slowly being replaced by newer modern houses. I really need to try to document the neighborhood more one of these days.


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