Japan is a land of volcanoes, and this warehouse was born in one of them. Its stone is called Shiogama rock. Geologists know it as tuff, a volcanic rock fused together from bits and pieces in an eruption millions of years ago. Quarried in Naruse, a town in the city of Higashi-Matsushima in Miyagi Prefecture, it was laid in blocks like brickwork to form the building’s sides.
Walking through the new corridor between the main building and the warehouse, visitors can see this stonework and the “Wooden Method” of framing it, with horizontal beams joined to vertical pillars by a “tongue” pegged into a slot to form a joint called mortise and tenon. Also visible is the bamboo latticework that supported a layer of board or sheet, which would then be painted.
Now that you have seen the rooms downstairs, you will want to see the rest of this historic rice shop. So walk back into the main building and over to the unusual split staircase.
【Audio guide is also available 】