Thatched Pointed Roofs and Silkworms
These pictures show historical buildings from an open-air museum in the west of Tokyo. Some of these houses are important cultural properties. Most have been transported from elsewhere in Honshu. They include a watermill, a warehouse on stilts, a kabuki stage, and a shrine. A few of the houses date back to the 17th century.
Many of the houses were three generational, and are very large, though dark, inside. The thatch is so thick because Japan suffers typhoons in the summer and autumn, and receives very heavy snowfall on the mountains and over its northern prefectures.
The attic of one of the houses (the Yamashita house) was used to raise silkworms. This was quite common in such large farmhouses until early in the 20th century, during the time when silk was an important Japanese export.
The steepness of the roofs was to prevent them collapsing under the weight of heavy snow. This is still a problem in winter in the northwest and north of Japan where snowfall is very heavy. Each winter dozens of people die falling off roofs or succumb to heart attacks after shovelling snow!!