During the Tokugawa shogunate the gates of the samurai houses were strictly regulated, being symbols of status. The type of the gate, the size and the ornaments were all indicating the rank of the samurai, with the top represented by the shogun. Thus, the shogun’s palace at the Nijō castle was made with a Karamon gate with golden ornaments.
Photographed here is the gate of the highest ranking home in the Kakunodate samurai district, belonging to the Aoyagi family, an important retainer of the Satake clan. As a reward for his services he received the right to have a 3 bays wide Yakuimon gate. The gate impresses with its roof height, with the width - triple than a lower ranking version - and the style, which was normally used for nobility mansions.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: