Step into the world of Japanese craftsmanship with this virtual exhibition exploring 1,300 years of master woodworking from the densely forested Hida region of Gifu Prefecture in central Japan.

Exploring the virtual exhibition
  • Starting with a display of Takayama festival floats on the Ground Floor, you can then head downstairs to explore the Gallery.
  • You can hop between exhibits using the circular portals on the floor.
  • The camera icons show you the images up close, while the information icons tell you more about the exhibits.
  • To immerse yourself in this exhibition, click on the full-screen icon in the top right-hand corner of the tour.

The creation of this virtual exhibition is supported by JTI UK.

About The Carpenters' Line

The Carpenters' Line was on display at Japan House London from 29 September 2022 to 29 January 2023. The exhibition title refers to both the lineage of woodworking in Hida and a sumi-tsubo – a carpenters’ line – a fundamental Japanese carpentry tool used for marking straight lines on wood.

From the raw materials of the forests of Hida and the tools developed to work them, to the involvement of Hida craftsmanship in furniture design around the world today, visitors to the exhibition are immersed in an extraordinary craftworking legacy.   

First recorded in the eighth century CE, the woodworking skills of the Hida craftspeople were provided to the imperial capital in place of taxation, such was the importance placed upon their carpentry techniques. It was the skills of these Hida craftspeople that built many of the famous shrines and temples still seen in the ancient capitals of Nara and Kyoto.

Nowadays, the practice of woodworking still thrives in Hida – and in particular the city of Takayama – with established workshops and factories well known for their collaborations with domestic and international designers, the results of which can be seen in museum collections across the globe.

The Carpenters’ Line: Woodworking Heritage in Hida Takayama explored Hida’s legacy of skill and innovation through a series of installations focusing on woodworking techniques and materials, technology and innovation, products (including Hida-shunkei lacquerware and intricate kumiko latticework) and the people whose livelihoods depend on working with the natural materials of their local environment.