Kyomachiya hold many definitions as there is no single unified view towards it. In general, kyomachiya are a long wooden houses located on a narrow city block. They usually consist of toriniwa, tsuzukima, tsuboniwa, and okuniwa.
The exterior features of kyomachiya are baked tiled roofs, wooden lattices, mushikomado, and wall made of soil/mud. They used to house merchants and craftsmen. Another characteristic of kyomachiya is that they often built closely connected to one another, with only the entrance facing the road.

Features of Kyomachiya

The front of a Machiya typically features wooden lattices, or koshi. Good examples of this are de-goshi (latticed windows), which are for preventing prying eyes from outside without shutting out light and soft breezes.

The facade of the second story of a machiya is generally not made of wood, but of mud/soil, with a distinctive style of window known as mushiko mado. Musikomado is made for fire prevention and it allows sunshine and good ventilation into the house.

A hibukuro is a chimey in the kitchen which allows smoke and heat flow out from the house. Also, hibukuro allows sunshine to bring in lights into the house.

Shoki is originated from ancient China. The emperor of China was sick and he was saved by Shoki who appeared in the emperor’s dream to defeat a demon. Shogi is then worshipped as a guardian and placed on the roof above the door of machiya.

Inuyarai is an arched shape protective barrier made of bamboo built from the middle of the wall to the ground of Machiya. It is used to protect the wall from splashing rain, mud and animal urines.

Battari Shogi is a foldable bench usually attached to the front of machiya. It is used as a showcase table to display goods for sale, and as a place for merchant family members to sit and relax in the evening. When the shop is closed, battari shogi would usually be folded away.

Miseniwa is located right after the entrance. Toriniwa is located in between the entrance and the backyard. For bigger machiya, townhouse, tsuboniwa is yet another small garden to bring in natural air circulation and light into the house.

Toriniwa is the connection between the front entrance and the backyard of Machiya. It serves as a walk path for the residents, a road for loading items and a wind path to bring in cool breeze into the house. Known as 「Eel’s Bedroom」, toriniwa typically has a narrow entrance with a long and straight narrow pathway.

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