Kyo Ishi KogeihinKyoto Stone Carving

Stone and relationship with human life begin distantly from the Stone Age. It was in the latter half of the Nara era, and stone culture was born by transmission of Buddhism.
With development of the later stone construction art, precious cultural stone industrial art objects were created. High quality granite (cancer to surround) is cut and brought down from the foot of Hiei, village of Shirakawa, and Kyo Ishi Kogeihin which was blessed with materials is supported in nature of the locality of leading Kyoto of culture between thing for 1,000 years and we build technique of mason art not to be seen and tell other districts at the present.

Although man's relationship with stone began long ago in the Stone Age, it was not until the end of the Nara period (710-794) when Buddhism was introduced into Japan that stone became more than just a utilitarian material.
Gradually, as the art of stone work developed, pieces of stone craft of real cultural value appeared. Being blessed with fine raw materials such as the good quality granite available from the village of Shirakawa at the foot of Mount Hiei, Kyo Ishi Kogeihin has been sustained by the very nature of the cultural of Kyoto, which has been at the center of Japanese culture for over a thousand years. Stone carving techniques, which cannot be found in any other part of the country, have been acquired here over the years and are still in use to this day.

Almost everything that is made is for use in the traditional Japanese garden. A mason is responsible for carrying out all of the work on a piece, making each and everyone according to its function and form. Inevitably though, it is the stone lantern that has been an indispensable component of any traditional garden since the Momoyama period (1568-1600) in step with the fashion for tea. Besides lanterns and various kinds of tubs and pots, some pieces of sculpture are also made.

  • Notification

    skills and techniques

    "Mountain wound" "is mixed" in building stones to use "leaf wound"; or of "bose" it be said that there is not.

    "Squid and others" use "chisel" and "mallet" for model structure "double-edged blade" "single edge".

    The joining of garden lantern and all parts of layered pagoda is thing by tenon piece or dado piece except "officer of textiles type" and "sen*jikata".

    Carving "drink" "kobera" "match model" "single edge" using "blade bushhammer" or "repousse" float, and carve, and set, and carve, and do with openwork, miniature engraving or meat carving.

    Finish is thing by "we put out and nudge finish" or "we put out sinew finish" "seared finish" "bushhammer finish" "we finish drinking finish".

    Raw materials

    Assume uncut stone Shirakawa stone, takakuishi, north tree and rock, Uji stone, anchiishi, blue tree and rock, Toshima stone or Oshima granite.

    It be said that raw wood to use for core stick of quern has materials which are equal to willow oak or this.

  • Work scenery

    Stone lantern is made of precious stone, shade, burning place of a fireplace (hibukuro), Nakadai, pillar, 6 parts of lower stand. We introduce process of manufacture of shade mainly here.

    Process 1: Stone mawashi

    It is work to draw the line between quarry stone (uncut stone) with sumi with form, size at the time of completion beforehand.

    Process 2: Wild; take

    At first we dig some arrow holes to stone and we swat arrow which was able to enter arrow hole and greatly drop the four corners and corner drops the outside of the line which we provide more sumi at "squid and others" and did and does and we fettle with "chisel" (= cut) fix.

    Process 3: Place to get off structure

    We flatten part of place to get off namely the shade back. Only squid and others, business on a basis of the next month's delivery are tools such as bushhammer, bushhammer, and shining fixes sumi after seeing torsion of stone well. It is important work to make datum level to make the side perpendicularly.

    Process 4: Eaves ground structure

    It is work to make eaves ground namely the side perpendicularly from place to get off that we fixed evenly.

    Process 5: Shade back structure

    We do sumi tool of the number of steps of the back of shade and mellow tip processing called shape of a bracken sprout (warabite) and are work fettling along it. We keep in mind so that shape of a bracken sprout does not decline for the shade back.

    Process 6: Shape of a bracken sprout structure

    We deal with only by scrupulous attention while seeing balance of curve to be missing, and not to drop. We cut and bring down obi.

    Process 7: Shade is listed (uwaba) made

    We finish tilt of the upper shade. Work to fettle stone looks coarse at a glance, but there is delicate art for addition and subtraction of power to hit angle, mallet (soil) of slight chisel point. It is entering evidence of the term of service to seem to devote without hesitation.

    Video is played when we click image

    Process 8: Mortise structure

    We carve hole to combine with mind of precious stone. When we assembled stone lantern, tenon does duty to combine precious stone with shade by occluding in irregularities.

    Process 9: Back dado structure

    It is work to add settled hollow of burning place of a fireplace to the shade back.

    Process 10: Finish

    We sound the whole and finish.

    Furthermore, we finish lower stand, burning place of a fireplace, Nakadai, pillar, precious stone each, and we assemble, and garden lantern is completion.

    Video is played when we click image

  • Close-up

    The skill and pride of Kyoto mason in coming ages

    Kyoto, Shirakawa district. The ground of hometown of mason who produced good-quality Shirakawa stone, and has ever engaged in mason art in Muranaka here of the foot of Hiei. We asked Japan which revivified classic figure by the traditional skill in the ground's leading excellent mason, Kinzo Nishimura about story.


    Craftsman of Kyoto forged by connoisseur

    That mason art developed with Buddhism in the Heian era, and it came to be loved as accessories of garden in the Muromachi era by masters of tea ceremony. Motoyama of Buddhism in particular crowded, and, in central Kyoto of tea ceremony culture, it was forged in Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine Buddhist temple, men of well-cultivated tastes who respected tradition and formality by masters of tea ceremony who got fat of eyes, and polishing was hung for mason art. Of course there are still many connoisseurs in Kyoto, craftsman of Kyoto "oneself is manure yasanaakimasen with eyes, too. We say, we often learn.

    "We forget time among garden lanterns here"

    We learn from classic by actual survey and apply

    Korean stone industrial art object which we looked at as craftsman in 20 generations at the greatest turning point. Thereafter we paid frequent visits to Korea such as the origin of Japanese stone culture. "After all when if genuine article is great, we are impressed and want to see good thing more. However, you should not be just looking." "We measure how you are in love. So it becomes own thing for the first time." We raised perfect gem which we rarely touched in actual survey, drawing with the help of connections. "We can apply it next when we understand the good form and balance with number." Technique and sensitivity will be not to acquire when we depend only on perception.

    Bookshelf talks about study eagerness of reason

    The touch of soft stone

    We have you lead to exhibition ground of the back of shop. Garden lantern which Nishimura made and garden lantern which we like and buy and gathered are coherent and line up there full of rural beauty that we open up mountain, and there was and are grand. Good thing harmonizes regardless of the made times and place. "New garden lantern has little taste. Good condition has rust when we put here, and it is in taste that it cannot be said at all." We touched garden lantern of Nishimura. Though is stone, stick to palm; seem to be soft. Because "we all do it by hand. He/she told, it is soft and smooth when we sharpened by machine.

    Exhibition ground that various garden lanterns compare with

    Thing to be able to take responsibility for even after dying. Therefore rival is ancient people

    Stone which is solid, and is symbol of permanence. However, only as for the work that it is really good to be transmitted even through stone material in history. "Therefore oneself is responsibility mottetsukuranaakimasen trap that we die, and stone is left. eemon where it is all one could do while oneself lives, it is zan rumontsukuranaakan omoi temasu and Nishimura later. It is readiness of craftsman treating stone. In addition, if "compare in Kamakura and the Muromachi era, technical design becomes tool. We cannot be defeated by old person." "eemontsukuranaakannodesu than ancient people." Rival of modern master craftsman is far-off ancient people.

    We keep mason art of Kyoto and inherit

    We emphasize that Nishimura must not quit technical tradition of Japan. Craftsman of Kyoto kept mason art of Kyoto with stone of Kyoto and brought up. Therefore we are particular about work that domestic craftsman now just does with domestic stone that stone is not produced in Shirakawa. We say "technical bargain sale rihasunna." to young person persistently simply because we are confident of the skill that we inherit and cultivated. "How long are gen utakatene where stone is hard, dull thing broken? Thing of cheap mass production is thing which is not left. shi uyonakotosunna says precious technique to such a thing does not sleep." "It is that do not open that it is thing which is worth leaving us in history, product and others." The skill will be inherited in history as far as self-confidence of mason is more firm than stone, and there is this.

    Workshop. Sons show their skill, too

    Craftsman profile

    Kinzo Nishimura (nishimurakinzo)

    The "seimuraishitoryoten" fourth generation.
    It was born in 1938.
    In masterpiece copies of bridge garden lantern of Kanazawa Kenroku-en Garden.


    ... tea ceremony culture and mason art to follow the history of Kyoto mason art

    "Mason" who is old, and appears in Kojiki. In Kyoto, stone article came to be made with building of the Emperor's palace flourishingly by peaceful capital relocation, and the cornerstone, Ishibotoke, stone pagoda of Buddhist temple and Shinto shrine building, masonry including stone lantern developed with the prosperity of Buddhism more and more again.
    Even if the center of politics moves to Kanto after the Kamakura era, superior stone industrial art object is left in Kyoto that was still the center of culture. When we run early in the Edo era from Momoyama era, construction of a castle and landscape gardening, ties with tea ceremony culture have a big influence on mason art more. We did copying of stone lantern to be transmitted through as apology that master of tea ceremony found, expression of rust for a long time for decoration of garden, and water bowl, layered pagoda, other sculptures thing were brought in flourishingly in garden. "The beauty" in conformity with heart of tea was pursued, and stone industrial arts improved remarkably in order to meet it. There was such a historic background now to use stone lanterns for garden decoration.

    • The beauty of stone which is indispensable in Japanese garden


Industrial art object name Kyo Ishi Kogeihin
Phonetic symbol kyoishikougeihin
Classification of industrial art object Stonework
Main product Stone lantern basket, dwarf tree, quern (go down lightly), layered pagoda (sotou), sculpture thing
Main production area Kyoto / Kyoto-shi, Uji-shi, Kameoka-shi, Muko-shi, Yawata-shi
The designation date March 5, 1982

Contact information

■local production associations

Kyoto building stones business cooperative association
6-210, Rokuchome, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
TEL: 075-256-2955
FAX: 075-256-9698

■Associated exhibit space, facility


As for the Kyo Ishi Kogeihin, most are for garden decoration, and one mason (we are and spread) deals with all processes. Various products are made by use and form. Stone lantern basket becomes in particular the indispensable leading role of Japanese garden with the fashion of tea ceremony after Momoyama era.

Kyo ishi kogeihin, mostly used as garden decorations, are manufactured by hand by a single stonemason handling all production stages. A great number of products are created, all different for intended use and shape. Stone lanterns, in particular, have become an essential element of Japanese gardens since the Momoyama period in conjunction with the growing popularity of the tea ceremony.

How to make

It varies according to stone lantern basket, layered pagoda, dwarf tree, quern, sculpture thing and kinds, but we are common each and are greatly divided into "uncut stone processing" "molding" "sculpture" process "that we seem to finish". Old traditional technique is used for these both manufacturing methods. For product to install, the outdoors may not mind in particular, but they are missing when they give shock, and they may crack. It is important to devise setting of stone lantern basket to harmonize with neighboring environment such as gardens.

Stone lanterns, pagodas, vases and millstones, though varying in type and sculpting techniques, are share the fact of being manufactured in the course of the same general stages: "raw-stone processing," "molding," "sculpting" and "finishing.". In all of these stages are used traditional techniques handed down from ancient times. Even though articles to be installed outdoors require no special care, they may chip or break if receiving a strong blow. An important part of the installation of stone lanterns is the devising of ways to harmonize them with their surrounding garden environment.

Voice from production center

For product to install, the outdoors may not mind in particular, but they are missing when they give shock, and they may crack. It is important to devise setting of stone lantern basket to harmonize with neighboring environment such as gardens.

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