Ship Cabins

History That Survives in Minamichita

Historical Documents

Ship Cabins

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Ship Equipment


A muchugokaku was a type of foghorn.
It used bellows to produce a sound when the ship left or entered a harbor in order to alert others in the vicinity.


This is a type of telescope used aboard ships.
They have been used for a variety of purposes ever since they were introduced to Japan in the first half of the Edo period.

Ship Cabins(VR)

When the mast was taken down, two pieces of squared lumber known as the "ayumi" were set in parallel on the deck above the center area of the cabin with a space between slightly wider than the mast itself.
The space between the two pieces of lumber was left empty any time other than when the mast was taken down, and a square lid referred to as a "goita" was set on it to block rain.

Ship Cabins(VR)

The area around the middle of the ship was called the "donoma", and the floor boards were removed to store cargo in it.
When there was a lot of cargo, upon filling the inside with cargo, the removed floor boards would be put back to their original place with the remaining cargo being placed on top of them.
However, when waves were high, there was a risk of water soaking the cargo.


Documents issued by government offices to allay doubts about a ship's reliability, sales contracts, and other valuable items would be placed inside storage chests called funadansu. They were designed so they could be sealed tight and would float on the water in the event of a shipwreck.

Funadansu Drawer(VR)

When the large right-hand door is opened, both large and small drawers made from paulownia are inside.

Funadansu Secret box(VR)

Deep within the lowest drawer was a secret space with a lidded box inside.

Ship Gear and Tackle

The Japanese-style ship is made of many kinds of woods such as pine, cedar, Japanese cypress, zelkova, oak and so on.
A variety of gear and tackle used during the late Edo period and the Meiji period remain in Minamichita.
They are regarded as extremely valuable artifacts for understanding the history of Japanese trading ships.

Ship Nameplate(Photos)


The name of the ship and some words of good luck are written on this nameplate.
It decorates the cabin in the center of the ship rather than being displayed on the outside of the stern.



This object, also known as a "suzuno'o", hangs in the ship's cabin near the shrine and altar.
It is said to be a good-luck charm brought by prostitutes who were familiar to the sailors.

Cooking Stove(Photos)


This is a stove witch was ased aboard the ship for cooking.
They were made out of stone for stability while at sea, and the deck below them is carved out to lower its center of gravity.Firewood was used as fuel.

Wajishaku and Harisujiki(Photos)


Both of these tools were necessary for trading ship navigation.
The wajishaku was a compass that told sailors the ship's bearing and direction of travel while on board.
The harisujiki was a book in which location-specific helm directions were written for navigating to various destinations.
Every trading ship was equipped with a portable harisujiki on hand.