What is Onigawara ?

Made by Oni-shi and only one in the world

Onigawara is a type of roof ornamentation depicting the face of Oni (Japanese ogre) or Karajishi (lion). It is said to protect the house, temple and shrine from evil spirits and made by the artisan called Oni-shi. Nowadays, only a few Kawara brand has Oni-shi. Blueprint never exists for Onigawara and those roof tiles are made solely from On i-shi's image in his head. This is the reason why there is not a single Onigawara which is sames the other.

Kazari kawara (decorative roof tile)

Different types of decorative roof tiles called Kazari Kawara, made by Oni-shi

  • Shachi kawara of Himeji castle

  • Shachi kawara (a fish-formed water god which protects from fire)

  • Kyou no maki (oni gawara)

  • Face of ogre (oni gawara)

  • Dragon

  • Eagle

  • Shishi

  • Hotei

  • Hawk on pine tree

  • Bodhidharma

  • Lotus

  • Onisuzu (lucky charm)

Kawara master Shunichiro Kamai

The oni-shi of Koyo Seiga. His father was also Oni-shi and he’s keeping the tradition of decorative roof tiles at Koyo Seiga. Upon repairing UNESCO World Heritage Himeji-castlein which started in 20090、Shachihoko made by Mr. Mizoi was put on top of the castle. The other Shachihoko, made by his father is displayed in Shiromidai park in front of Himeji Castle.

Koyo Kawara