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Smoke hole in the shape of the character for 'water' (Kemuri-ana-no-mizu)

Smoke hole in the shape of the character for 'water'  (Kemuri-ana-no-mizu)
Various writing styles are used to depict the character for 'water': from the printed 'kaisho' writing style to the cursive 'sosho' handwriting style.
This is a traditional house ('minka'), built in 'irimoya' style in a mountain village at the Northern part of the city. Once the houses were covered with thatched roofs, but nowadays many of them substitute those roofs with tile-covered ones. The roof shape creates an impression of mass and heaviness with the area around its ridge, rising sharply, while toward the eaves its slope becomes gentle, thus the roof, sharply pointing toward the sky, blends in harmony with the cedars of Kitayama. Furthermore, the triangular gables, built on both sides of the roof, have openings, functioning as chimneys to remind us the time when the 'irori' fireplaces were widely used. Those openings were called 'kemuri-ana' or smoke holes and they were carved in the shape of the character for water as a symbol to many prayers for fire accidents' protection. 'Kemuri-ana' reminds us the wisdom of the predecessors, combining wonderfully both function and design.

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