Traditional Japanese architecture dates back thousands of years from the time when warehouses were built on stilts (2000 BC). With the development of architectural knowledge and technology, stronger and more durable buildings have been constructed. These houses and other buildings including temples and shrines, were built with local natural materials. The most used material was wood.
Wood is the main material used for traditional Japanese houses. Sugi (Cedar tree), Keyaki (Zelkova tree), and Hinoki (Cypress tree) are the three most commonly used wood for construction. Sugi is soft compared to other types of wood, and has straight grain patterns, so it is easy to work with. Also, it is found in most areas of Japan, therefore sugi has been the most popular wood for constructing. Hinoki is also soft and light, but is also strong and tough. Keyaki is strong and hard, and is relatively heavy. By mixing and combining different types, Japanese architects have been able to enhance the durability of buildings.
Nowadays, more people want to incorporate these Japanese wood materials into their current, modern homes for construction along with the purpose of interior design. The combination of stylish contemporary design and traditional architecture is becoming extremely popular. Japan experienced westernization after World War Two, and the country, especially in the city, continues to adopt western cultures and lifestyles. However, historical Japanese culture naturally fits best with Japan’s distinct weather and environment. More people are realizing this, and thus, has resulted in a greater demand for natural Japanese materials and traditional architecture techniques for stronger, more durable houses.