A Visit to the Takenaka Museum of Carpentry Tools in Kobe, Japan

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Blog entry by brentmore posted 03-17-2013 03:39 PM 7364 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello LJs,

I just had a great visit to a little woodworking museum in Kobe that I thought was worth sharing. It’s got to be, pound-for-pound, one of the best museums I’ve been to. Sure, it’s the Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum and I love woodworking, so I’m biased… but even my wife agrees that it was quite a nice experience. Here are a few photos with some comments:

The entrance: typical Japanese signage… very pleasing to look at

A little video before beginning the tour

Japanese carpentry was traditionally broken into 4 categories. There were carpenters, roofers, plasterers and blacksmiths. The knowledge required for each was so high that one often didn’t master more than one area. We’ll focus on the carpenter, or daiku

A spread of what we’d typically find in a daiku’s toolbox

I don’t know much about Chinese woodworking, but there was a little display along the way.

Some nice examples of very customized and ornate planes.

A view of the daiku’s collection

An old frame saw. There was a video of some old Japanese guys using this on some VERY large cypress – amazing

Some beautiful joinery. This can be found in castle and temples, or in small jewelry boxes

Samples of the common woods in japanese woodworking: cedar, cypress, maple

Some shavings from the wood samples… if you haven’t seen the planing competitions on YouTube, it’s definitely worth a look

For the plane and chisel junkies:

My wife is scoping out my next present

And that’s it! A great stop if you’re ever in Japan.

-- Brent,

12 comments so far

View JesseTutt's profile


853 posts in 1197 days

#1 posted 03-17-2013 03:47 PM

thanks for the virtual visit!

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View ShaneA's profile


5833 posts in 1685 days

#2 posted 03-17-2013 03:48 PM

Nice, some great pictures and awesome looking stuff. Thanks for sharing.

View racerglen's profile


2910 posts in 1867 days

#3 posted 03-17-2013 05:24 PM

Brent, that looks like an awsome facility, you must have been in 7th heaven !
Do they sell souveniers ?


-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View Jim Rowe's profile

Jim Rowe

795 posts in 1399 days

#4 posted 03-17-2013 05:26 PM

Thanks for taking the time to share your visit with us. Some wonderful tools to gloat over!

-- It always looks better when it's finished!

View waho6o9's profile


6391 posts in 1664 days

#5 posted 03-17-2013 05:35 PM

Thank you Brent, most excellent photos and love me some
Japanese joinery.

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 2395 days

#6 posted 03-17-2013 06:14 PM

I would love to visit that place…and especially see as much as their woodworking styles as possible…

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

8538 posts in 3139 days

#7 posted 03-17-2013 07:21 PM


Wonderful visit!
Thank you for taking us on the tour too! GREAT!

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View stefang's profile


14926 posts in 2421 days

#8 posted 03-17-2013 07:51 PM

Thanks for the interesting tour.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1510 posts in 2652 days

#9 posted 03-17-2013 08:22 PM

Thanks for giving us a tour, looks like a great place to visit!

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View brentmore's profile


95 posts in 1288 days

#10 posted 03-18-2013 02:46 AM


Unfortunately, there was no gift shop! I was very disappointed because I would have definitely stocked up at such a nice museum. We got a few brochures though, which are very high quality. About half way through the museum, the director (a retired engineer) found us and personally walked us through many of the exhibits.

Interesting notes:
-Our guide noted that lignum vitae was used in ship propeller shafts as late as the 50s due to its hardness and self lubrication properties.

-I have virtually no experience in planing by hand, and was floored with the surfaces that woodworkers could achieve with their hand planes. If I got to their level, I’d throw out all of my sandpaper!

Here’s a clip of the planing competition:

-- Brent,

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

8538 posts in 3139 days

#11 posted 03-21-2013 05:40 AM

That is one heck of a LARGE Plane! Almost looked like a Thickness Planer! LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View Chopper89's profile


2 posts in 814 days

#12 posted 09-20-2013 08:52 PM

SUPER jealous.

-- Be a Swanson.

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