Antique Japanese Beams

Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Hamish Pidgeon, a New Zealander who has been living in Japan for the last 23 years. I live in Kyotango city, which is in Kyoto prefecture, Japan, with my wife and two daughters. I own and run “Asobi Lodge” here on the Sea of Japan coast, but that is not all I do. I am also crazy about antique Japanese wood from old Meiji, Taisho, and Showa Period houses and barns (approx 1870 – 1940), which I have been collecting for the past couple of years. Please scroll down through this page to find out all about these fantastic pieces of wood, and how you can procure some for yourself.

Why Japanese Beams?

Beautiful shapes: The roof beams especially are hand hewn, and no two are exactly the same.
Antique: Much of this wood was already old-growth when it was milled in the early 20th century.
Already milled: All the power and effort has already been expended. No need to do it all again.
Japanese softwood: Predominantly Japanese akamatsu (red pine), and hinoki (Japanese cypress).
Japanese hardwood: Incredibly strong wood called keyaki (translates as Zelkova, a type of Elm). Revered by Japanese, and the hardest wood in Japan.
Beautiful grains: Many of the milled pieces have fantastic patterns, and would have featured prominently in guest areas.
Old growth (80-100 years): Most of the antique wood was logged from established, old growth forests, making it very strong, resilient softwood.
Re-use: When we restored our lodge, we used as much of the original material as we could. Reusing old wood, still found in great condition, is an excellent eco-friendly alternative, and is extremely important to us.
Very strong: As mentioned above, much of the wood is from old growth forests, meaning it could be used for structural purposes, not just decorative.

Where Does it all Come from?

These beams predominantly come from the upper areas of old farm houses and barns from the Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa periods (1868 – 1940). These buildings were roofed with large, sturdy, ceramic tiles called KAWARA, which have huge overlap between tiles, resulting in no moisture penetration whatsoever. The result is that these roof beams are beautifully preserved, and found in excellent condition. Below are some photos of traditional farm houses where I get my wood. The first three photos are of brand new, traditionally built ceilings.

Categories of Wood


Gorombo is the colloquial name for the curved, hand hewn beams. These are the largest I have, can weigh well in excess of 500 kilograms, and are approx 4 -5 metres in length.


Generally a little smaller, but longer than the large gorombo. Can be almost as heavy as a large gorombo, and immensely strong.




The smaller gorombo were usually used as main roof rafters coming off the main roof ridge (consisting of large gorombo). Generally around 2 – 3 metres in length, these would make fantastic aesthetic pieces for any room or business.


These are the symmetrical beams that grace the most important areas of an old Japanese farm house or villa. Beautiful beams, with lovely grain patterns and colours. Very heavy, very strong, very awesome!!!


Keyaki is the most revered wood in Japan, and has huge status in terms of social standing and affluence. Found in the entranceway, and called “Daikoku Bashira”, meaning “A beam from the gods”, only the most “well to do” had these in their house.


The posts I keep are only the oldest and most interesting, usually covered in decades of charcoal soot. Generally 4 x 4 square, and around 4 metres in length.

Why Buy from Me?

Integrity: My business mission is to deliver high quality, unique pieces at a reasonable price. Only the best pieces reach the market.
Reliability: I deliver what I promise, and if there is ever a problem, I will not rest until it is sorted. You will never be left hanging with me.
Flexibility: I try to be as flexible as possible with both my suppliers and clients. Got a special request? I’ll always do my best to find a solution to any challenge or problem.
Sustainability: Natural resources are finite, but buying used, pre-loved beams is a great way to lower your impact on the earth.
A Basic Business Model: There is no flash-in-the-pan here. I don’t have a flash warehouse, I don’t employ any staff, nor do I have any machines. I do everything myself by hand, and have forged deep, meaningful relationships with my suppliers, in order to minimize my overheads, and provide you with the most interesting and reasonably priced beams you can find.
A Proven Track Record: A quick search on will reveal the reviews we have received from guests at our lodge. We consistently receive review scores of 10, reinforcing our commitment to offering our guests the best service and quality vacation. On, we have managed to maintain a perfect 5 stars from almost 50 reviews. We are committed to our clients!! link: Please click HERE link: Please click HERE

Photo Gallery

I have many photos of the wood I have collected over the last two years. Please click on the captioned images to see full size.