Hiroshima ButsudanHiroshima Household Buddhist Altars

Hiroshima was nature of the locality that the Jodo Shin sect of Buddhism was prosperous for a long time. Early in the Edo era, we assumed techniques such as decoration metal fittings worker and round chip box worker (in the case of string comb), painter (master) who moved from Kishu the cause, and Buddhist priest called *ko (tonkou) went to Kyoto, Osaka, and skills and techniques of Hiroshima Butsudan was established afterwards by learning high production technology of Household Buddhist Altars and Fittings, and having returned.
The Meiji era began and was shipped to the whole country using convenience of transportation by water of the Seto Inland Sea, but received crushing blow in World War II. We inherited tradition past after the war and revived.

The Jodo Shinshu of Buddhism has found favor among the people in Hiroshima for any hundreds of years. At the beginning of the 17th century a number of artisans skilled in making decorative fittings, braided cords and lacquerers moved into the Hiroshima area from Kishu, and it was their skills that became the foundation of household altar making in this area.
Later on, a local monk, Tonko learned much about the making of household altars and Buddhist religious paraphernalia while in Kyoto and Osaka. It was these skills which helped to establish the making of household altars in Hiroshima after he returned. The Meiji period (1868-1912) saw the shipping of altars to many parts of Japan along sea routes through the Inland Sea but everything came to an abrupt stop with the devastation of the Second World War. The traditions of this craft were, however, revived after the war.

One of the things particularly special to Hiroshima Butsudan is the use of oyster shell that are crushed to a fine powder and applied as a ground mixed with lacquer. The top coat and the gilding are equally fine. The overall style of these altars is, however, similar to those made in Osaka.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    Structure of "bare wood" is sectional thing by "tenon composing type".

    Palace structure is thing by "Masu composing type".

    Assume the painting purified lacquered hand coating.

    Do lacquer work and gold leaf push.

    Raw materials

    Assume bare wood material having materials which are equal to cedar, pine, hinoki or these.

    Metal fittings have materials which are equal to copper or copper compound metal or these; being made of metal.

    Assume lacquer natural lacquer.


  • Work scenery

    Process 1: Bare wood

    At first woodworker makes trunk coffered ceiling and pillar using tree of hinoki or cedar. We dry these trees by the sun after the stocking more than one year. Whenever there is order, woodworker chooses tree depending on it and makes Hiroshima Butsudan. It is said that it takes from ten days to two weeks to make one Household Buddhist Altars with expert woodworker.

    Process 2: The making of palace

    It is turn of master of palace successively. We cross work of many small trees before columnar pillar omission reaching tile and tie with glue. Because master of palace collects all together by placement of each part of Household Buddhist Altars , it is work almost source of processing.

    Process 3: Tree sculpture

    Next is engraver (we dig and do), turn of engraver. We clip out tree along design and carve carefully. We need many tools on producing. It becomes chance for craftsman to show what he/she can do how you use it properly. In engravers well experienced in, it takes around 10th before finish from one week.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 4: Table type (shokugata)

    Part that very careful work called table type (shokugata) is necessary successively. We write drawing to thing which we reduce the inside and did and we carve by hand and dig out. The estrade circumference is completed here.

    Process 5: Lacquering

    It is the fifth process, lacquerer to paint conventional finished thing with lacquer. Brush coating does purified lacquer on groundwork nitonokoo coating, the top and dries. Tasteful complexion is born deep by being repeated with coating, the final painting in undercoating.

    Process 6: Decoration metal fittings

    Master of decoration metal fittings makes hinge of parts used well such as installation of door and decoration metal fittings that there is many. These metal fittings are finished with smart sound beautifully by metal engraving. We use copper and brass for materials mainly, but this is because it is easy to do the gilding and complicated processing. There are hairlines of sculpture which is superficial on decoration metal fittings, three-dimensional ground carving, the middle relief.

    Process 7: Lacquer work

    It is work of Master lacquer work that we describe sketch in lacquer for decoration for lower half of Household Buddhist Altars which passed through process of lacquering more, and it falls, and finish powder of pure gold on the top. We dry and finish, but are important process that thing such as magnificence of Hiroshima Butsudan and unique three-dimensional impression is completed here afterwards.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 8: Foil push

    The eighth process is part called foil push. Decoration of side is made in Hiroshima Butsudan by this gold leaf push. It is process that we foil-stamp approximately 12 centimeters of gold leaf of square by one piece and finished painting lacquer and finish with imposition, joints together, but is fixed whether you do well by state that finished painting lacquer. We dry in this way in room (muro) for eight hours until gold leaf completely adheres.

    Process 9: Assembling

    And finally, it is process called assembling to settle process of past work. Sections which passed through eight processes are collected and assemble it and hit hardware and put lawn on shoji and are work polishing. At last luxurious Hiroshima Butsudan is completed in this way.


  • Close-up

    Work of art, Hiroshima Butsudan which the Jodo Shin sect of Buddhism brought up

    Household Buddhist Altars expresses invisible Jodo and Amitabha in form not what there is only to worship ancestors and person passed away, and it may be said even if it is place to worship, and to do. Household Buddhist Altars of Sanomune is thing which expressed Jodo, and gold leaf is put, and this plays a key role of Hiroshima Butsudan.


    Hiroshima Butsudan which we walked with Aki supporter of the Shinshu sect

    In prosperous Hiroshima of the Jodo Shin sect of Buddhism, Household Buddhist Altars production for supporters of the Shinshu sect was prosperous for a long time. However, Nagaakira Asano was that change took excellent japanner craftsmen from Kishu in sealed occasion, and, in place where technique was still developing stage at first, production technology of Household Buddhist Altars improved drastically in 1619. We established high technique of Hiroshima Butsudan afterwards by Buddhist priest called *ko learning technique of Household Buddhist Altars Household Buddhist Fittings in Kyoto, Osaka in 1716, and having come home. When it was the Meiji era and came to be shipped outside prefecture, in the top that carried bulky Household Buddhist Altars of size, we had been endowed with point of traffic called Seto Inland Sea marine transportation, and the production became best among the whole country for last years in the Taisho era.

    Hiroshima Butsudan which features magnificence and elegance

    For damage that is crushing by atom bomb

    After all we cannot avoid story of atom bomb in talking about ground Hiroshima. It was close, and, in the place where a lot of Household Buddhist Altars craftsmen lived, many craftsmen lost their life from the center of an explosion. Craftsmen who sent troops after the war and craftsman who stayed put power together and made an effort for revival of Hiroshima Butsudan, and demand gradually looked up, too. When people of Hiroshima put hands together in front of Household Buddhist Altars , not only they worship ancestors and do, but also pray to experience gaarukarakosono which was bombed over there, thing of true world peace, and they will pray.

    Work needs concentration

    Grand beauty only by gold Household Buddhist Altars

    Of course, characteristic of Hiroshima Butsudan is the grandeur using the best materials called gold leaf. This gold Household Buddhist Altars is the mainstream of Hiroshima Butsudan. It may be said that the feature is that form is similar to Osaka model. Household Buddhist Altars craftsmen called seven artisans compete for the skill of each process before Household Buddhist Altars being completed. It is woodworker, Hazama teacher (cool), master of palace (eat and we do not appear), master of dais for a Buddhist image (shumidanshi), master of decoration metal fittings, painter (master), people called master of lacquer work (we can wind up and do). Shinji field (masuda) he of master of lacquer work is super veteran called this way 54. We talk about the charm that it is difficulty of work, and is fun saying "lacquer work of Household Buddhist Altars lacks in the durability such as Laquer Ware of errand every day, but magnificence is found". In timings to sow the gold dust that "it is for irregularity to gold dust to sow next when lacquer structure, irregularity dry and do the most difficult one and do not dry equally", longtime perception and arm of craftsman are right clear places.

    Mashida who is working

    Certain work is supported to good tool and materials

    Considerable process is still supported with handwork of traditional artisan in Hiroshima Butsudan while many tools are mechanized now. "Thing that it was possible for good lacquer work writing brush to be the most anxious, and there was not just. Materials will not be good. When writing brush is very important and says, work progresses when it is ii writing brush, face of mild Mashida clouds over for an instant. Good handwork is supported to good tool again. Life of lacquer work writing brush seems to be approximately one month. Point of a brush is ruined when we surpass it and cannot draw delicate level. Expression of Mashida to tell, "we are very glad, but it is good and always keeps work that we averaged that there is not of being bad in mind when we were able to draw expected thing" is really warm. It thinks about people whom heart adjusts hand to calmly over there of Household Buddhist Altars , and is this because he/she always describes? We seem to have possibilities to demonstrate production process in event site when we want many people to know charm of this Hiroshima Butsudan more. However, there is problem of rash to the audience only with this lacquer work, too, and it is the current situation that it is very difficult. It seems to be performed, but result suffers from development of new chemical paint in substitution for lacquer for years before we appear. After all materials of nature are easy and will be succeeded without changing from old days because it is the best.

    • We cut shellfish to use for decoration finely

    • Writing brush is very important to master of lacquer work

    Craftsman profile


    Begin with Master of Traditional Crafts, shinshiden*, 1947; and this way 54. We concentrate nerve on careful work.


    Size and color of Household Buddhist Altars which house circumstances reflect

    Name of size of Household Buddhist Altars varies, but, in the case of Hiroshima Butsudan, it expresses size of board i.w. in number (as for 1 approximately 3 centimeters) by each place. Current marketable goods are called 18. We occupy approximately two-thirds of the number of the overall shipment. Because size to be said to be 24 was mainstream before, approximately 20 centimeters became small-sized, too. Because smaller size and recently homes without Japanese-style room itself increase, thing such as design which is correct in Western-style room is developed. In addition, as for the color, black and money were the center so far, but thing of modern image that color lacquer and silver, color such as white are used recently and are correct for interior gains popularity. Hiroshima Butsudan which accepts passage of times flexibly while following tradition. However, only feeling to respect ancestors will not change from now on either.

    • Thing for Buddhist altar room without low cupboard, 21 long torso



Industrial art object name Hiroshima Butsudan
Phonetic symbol hiroshimabutsudan
Classification of industrial art object Household Buddhist Altars and Fittings
Main product Gold Household Buddhist Altars
Main production area Hiroshima / Hiroshima-shi, Mihara-shi, Fukuyama-shi, Fuchu-shi, Miyoshi-shi others
The designation date February 6, 1978

Contact information

■local production associations

Hiroshima religion tool business and industry cooperative association
2-16, Horikawacho, Naka-ku, Hiroshima-shi, Hiroshima
TEL: 082-243-5321
FAX: 082-246-0440

■Associated exhibit space, facility


Hiroshima Butsudan uses the whitewash groundwork (gofunshitaji) using thing which crushed husk of oyster (oyster) made specially in Hiroshima as groundwork materials finely. Of "stand to" of final coating have a good reputation for technique, and is superior in technique of gold leaf push. Form is similar to Osaka model.

“Gofun” chalk base made from finely crushed oyster shells, a Hiroshima specialty, is used as base element in Hiroshima butsudan. The "vertical coating" top coating technique employed has a very good reputation and the gold embossing techniques used are very advanced. Design and shapes are similar to those of Osaka’s altars.

How to make

Production process is division of labor. We are divided into each post at bare wood section, palace (we eat do not appear) section, sculpture section, metal fittings section, lacquer work section, lacquering section. Using materials which are equal to cedar, pine, hinoki or these to raw materials in the bare wood section by tenon composing type is sectional, and make. We arrange palace section by masu composing type. Lacquering section is in charge of final coating and gold leaf push from the groundwork. We prepare thing made in each section and do in one Household Buddhist Altars .

The manufacturing process is based on a division of roles. The departments involved are the wood base preparation department, the shrine making department, the sculpture department, the ornamental fittings department, the gold-sprinkled lacquer department and the lacquering department. The wooden base preparation department creates groove-and-tenon dovetail assemblable prefabricated sets using cedar, pine, cypress wood or similar materials. Shrine department produces using square framing. The lacquering department is in charge of all intermediate steps between base coating and top coating as well as gold embossing. All components manufactured by each department are then assembled into a single altar.

Voice from production center

As Hiroshima Butsudan uses glue to groundwork materials, prevent you from putting in humid place for a long time. In addition, please consult with Household Buddhist Altars specialty store because there is reproduction repair even if we are used for a long time and are hurt, and parts are broken.

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