What are the Inuyarai and the Komayose?

INUYARAI (犬 矢 来)

If we walk through the old neighborhoods of Kyoto, with the beautiful traditional Japanese streets, one of the things that surprises us is that many houses have a kind of skirt or skirt. Normally they are made of curved bamboo, although there are also metal or plastic.

This architectural element is typical of Kyoto and it is not easy to guess the usefulness of this element: called inuyarai, that gives us a clue since inu means "dog", these fences were originally designed to prevent dogs from marking their territory and urinating in the walls of the house. But they also have other uses: protect the walls against splashes of rain and mud and prevent people from leaning against the walls.
Whatever its purpose was in the past, it is no longer necessary, the streets are paved and there is no mud when it rains and there are no stray dogs either, but they retain an attractive and elegant design

Inuyarai in Kyoto

Inuyarai in Kyoto

They are also called komafusegi 駒 防 ぎ and are usually curved screens, although we also find them inclined about 50 to 70 cm high made of bent bamboo strips.
They are typical throughout the Kansai 関 西 region, but mostly we find them in Kyoto.

KOMAYOSE (駒 寄 せ)

The Komayose seems fenced or fenced as we have in the West and also works as markers of the boundaries between the street and the house, but also served to tie horses and other animals to prevent animals from escaping.
Unlike the Inuyarai, these are vertical and usually reach a meter in height or more.

Komayose in Kyoto

Komayose in Kyoto

Both elements are an architectural curiosity, that although they do not have, in these times the utility for which they were designed, they are a distinctive and elegant element, that fits perfectly in the environment of the ancient streets of Kyoto.

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Written by japon1minuto
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