Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum – Kobe, Japan - Atlas Obscura
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Kobe, Japan

Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum

A collection of the specialized tools used to construct Japan’s beautiful architecture. 

Japan is known for its unique architectural style, exemplified through buildings like The Great Buddha Hall and the Ise Grand Shrine, but while the finished structures get the fame, precious few stop to think about the specialized tools that allow for these masterpieces to be built.

To remedy this, a museum was created in 1984 to showcase the full history of Japanese carpentry tools, from ancient times to the present day. Located on the outskirts of Kobe, the Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum displays over 20,000 instruments in an elegant modern facility believed to be the only carpentry tools museum in the country.

The collection is divided into seven sections, covering the history of the tools, an exploration into their aesthetic beauty, and an inside look into Japanese carpentry. Throughout the museum are sizable displays of chisels, planes, and thousands of other instruments.

While the tools are largely from Japan, the museum also contains an extensive European and Chinese collection to contrast with the Japanese renditions. One of the museum’s most fascinating sections is “The Traditional Beauty of Japanese Wa,” which presents visitors with kumiko art, karakami paper, and a life-size model of a Japanese tea room.