Being completely welcomed with open arms into the village of Koshirakura, Japan, we lived for two weeks, not only building a wood-fired oven, but getting involved in all the traditions and local activities that permeate throughout the community within the summer period.

The workshops that take place here each summer are put on by Shin Egashira, and there to create an infrastructure for its social sustainability, following the post-agricultural transition.


The finished wood-fired oven with a roofing/canopy/bench structure

Working deep into the night, on the final day before completion!


Digging out natural clay from the hillside in the village

Working with children from the local schools to render the oven with a mixture of clay, rice straw and sand.

Mixing concrete for the foundations.

Testing the oven with pizza!

Using the cinema screen that was built in a previous workshop, to screen the week’s festivities for the locals.

Grass cutting with the local community.

Re-working the bus stop that was built in previous workshops

Practicing for a costume-making and dance performance in a nearby village – this was our reenactment of ‘Pokemon’!

Carrying a shine through the local village, as part of the traditional maple-tree festival in the area.

“The festival, which is particular to Koshirakura, begins with the selection and cutting of a sacred tree in the mountains and carried to the village for a night of singing and dancing. The following day the tree is carried and drugged from house to house to commemorate and celebrate significant events of the previous year, whether a birth or marriage, a special birthday, the extension of a house, or successes in business and studies. Inhabitants with special reason to offer thanks provide foods for all, endless toasting of sake, water throwing and singing lend the festival an additional intensity!” Shin Egashira

Koshirakura 2011.