Production record of the wooden Japanese-style trailer “SAWAYA Ochatabi”

Currently, we are producing the tea room camping trailer "SAWAYA Ocha Tabi", which is made using traditional Japanese construction methods.
I hope to be able to interact and learn from everyone through a carefree journey, enjoying tea in the beautiful scenery of each season and visiting traditional cultures in various places .

(September 1, 2023: Woodworking work by Sokosha was completed. Tiny House Japan will now transport it to their workshop.)

I became interested in wooden camping trailers when I learned about Mr. Tagami of Tiny House Japan on the Internet. He is a builder who handcrafts beautiful wooden trailers that look like crafts, using solid cedar wood and various other natural materials that are locally sourced in Oita Prefecture, where his workshop is located. The wooden trailers, which are made using traditional craftsmanship, look like wooden yachts running on land, or giant handmade furniture that people can live in. They are full of handmade warmth, and are transportable vehicles that live in harmony with nature. It's a small house. In addition, the structure made using traditional construction methods is strong, flexible, and light enough to hold up even when driven around on public roads.

I was drawn to this trailer at first sight because I had been wondering if Japan's lifestyle, which is rooted in traditional techniques and climate, could be better utilized in today's times. After watching Tiny House Japan's trailer, I gradually started thinking about building a trailer that looked like a shrine and traveling around Japan with it. I immediately decided to create this image as 3D data using a CAD software called SketchUp. I watched the video of Mr. Tagami's trailer and created the following image based on what I saw.

(I plan to assemble this building on the trailer chassis.)

It is a traditional Japanese house that consists almost only of pillars and fittings. It has an entrance that doubles as a kitchen with a dirt floor of about 2 tatami mats, a Japanese-style room with a small raised tatami room of about 3 tatami mats, and a restroom and bathroom in the back. The side of the Japanese-style room has a sweeping window. The lattice wall on the side of the Japanese-style room becomes an eave and verandah when expanded. When I put all my dreams into it, I ended up with something so unique.

I decided to visit Mr. Tagami of Tiny House Japan and ask him if it was possible to make one, and if something like this could actually be driven on public roads. When I met with Mr. and Mrs. Tagami and told them my thoughts, I found out that Mr. Tagami is interesting, but unfortunately he doesn't do Japanese-style trailers. However, there are probably many craftsmen who would like to work on something like this. Among them, there is a young and skilled leader named Mr. Yamamoto of Sokosha in Okayama Prefecture. If he accepts the job, Mr. Tagami can also accept the job. is what they said.

After Mr. Tagami made an appointment, I immediately flew to Okayama Prefecture and met Mr. Yamamoto. When I told them about my plans, Mr. Yamamoto also showed interest, and after almost two replies, he agreed to accept the job.

With the help of these two talented craftsmen, my dream began to become a reality.

First, Mr. Tagami redid the design based on my design. The interior remains pure Japanese style, while the exterior has been reborn in a sophisticated form typical of Tiny House Japan. In addition, we have prepared the best wood from Oita Prefecture, including rare cedar wood called Akasuma, which can only be harvested in small amounts from a single cedar tree.

This time, under Mr. Tagami's design and supervision, Sokosha will handle the production of the basic structure, exterior walls, interior, fittings, furniture, etc.
Initially, it was expected that the trailer would be completed in about three months, with Sokosha in two months and Tiny House Japan in one month.
However, in reality, after signing the contract, it took about a year and a half for the wood to dry, then another two months for the drawings to be completed, the inking and carving of the wood, and the construction of the structure, interior decoration, fittings, and furniture. It took more than half a year.
Although it is a Japanese-style building with a simple structure, in order to achieve sufficient strength, it was constructed using highly sophisticated and time-consuming wood framing, which resulted in a great deal of time and effort.

The trailer is said to be traveling while being constantly subjected to shaking of about 6 on the seismic intensity scale. What's more, this time we will talk about the rather special job of building a vehicle that can be driven around on public roads using traditional Japanese wooden construction methods.``It's a lot of hard work, but I'm having fun doing it,'' and ``It's all about being a carpenter.'' The master carpenter, Yamamoto, who is also a first-class architect, designed the building to be extremely sturdy, with safety in mind, so that it would not budge even when driven around on public roads. Thank you very much to everyone at Sokosha.

Small parts carved into complex shapes that I have never seen before fit together perfectly and are assembled on top of the trailer chassis.

Although each component is small, the effort required is not much different from building a whole house. If it weren't for Sokosha, we wouldn't have been able to do this much work. says Mr. Tagami. Sokosha's techniques will be integrated into Tiny House Japan's trailer.

The situation in late May 2023. The finish is so wonderful that it would be a waste to cover it up with an exterior wall.

The exterior walls and window frames have been completed and are looking great. After discussing with everyone how to paint the exterior wall, we decided to leave it as unpainted plain wood. I heard that the dirt will be quite noticeable at first, but I would like to grow it for a long time while enjoying the changes over time.

There are many wooden buildings that have not faded even after many years. If you take good care of this trailer, it will surely last a long time. I think it would be wonderful if we could continue to use it with care and pass it down from parent to child, and from child to grandchild.

At the recommendation of head carpenter Yamamoto, we installed tatami mats from Yokoyama Tatami in Kyoto. Once the tatami mats were added, the atmosphere suddenly became more interesting. I don't know anything about tea ceremony, but I think it would be great for a tea party.
Thank you, Yokoyama Tatami, for making such wonderful tatami.
Although it is four and a half tatami mats, it is a custom-sized small tatami room, so it is actually a Japanese-style room that is about three tatami mats in size.
By the way, there is a large capacity under-floor storage space under the tatami.

Similarly, the interior walls were made of shoji walls, which was the idea of ​​head carpenter Yamamoto. It's a paper wall that tears easily. Thanks to you, it's much lighter. I'm planning to have some fun by installing lighting inside the walls and pasting various types of Japanese paper on the torn areas.

An open and bright Japanese-style room where you can feel nature first-hand.
Tea room trailer “Tea Journey” currently in production 1
A lattice fence being installed.
Tea room trailer “Tea Journey” currently in production 3
behind the vehicle. The opening will have double doors.
Inside, there is a kitchen and a shop counter. A Japanese-style room continues beyond the sliding door at the back.

Tea room trailer “Ocha Tabi” currently in production 4
Looking at the Japanese-style room from the side, it looks like you can relax and enjoy the view of nature.

There are also removable product shelves on both sides of the Japanese-style room. I would like to display my works on shelves and use them in galleries, etc.
Tea room trailer “Tea Journey” currently in production 5
The door on the side is the entrance to the store.
I made a brass shop sign. It looks like a train nameplate.
The name of the shop is "SAWAYA Ochatabi".
We would like to do our best to earn your patronage.

(Thank you very much to everyone at Sokosha. Mr. Tagami on the right)

It took Sokosha nine months to create the building, starting with the start of construction in January of the same year.

(Mr. and Mrs. Tagami from Tiny House Japan and everyone from Sokosha. On the right is me and my wife)

I would like to express my gratitude to everyone at Sokosha for completing the job so politely, beautifully, and perfectly, even though we were asked to do a difficult job. Thank you very much.
I have received so many words of gratitude from the craftsmen, such as ``I enjoyed my work'' and ``It was a good experience,'' which makes me so happy and humbled that I am moved to tears. I am truly grateful! Thank you very much!
And thank you very much for your hard work! !

I consider this "tea trip" to be a treasure entrusted to me by everyone, and I will cherish it forever.

From now on, we will transport it to Tiny House Japan's workshop in Oita Prefecture, where they will carry out waterproofing work, water supply and drainage equipment, installation of fittings, vehicle inspection registration, etc., and finally, it will be completed. .

Stay tuned for future progress!

By the way, after completion, we plan to transport it to Shizuoka Prefecture.

If you are interested, please come and have a look!
We are a tea shop in Shizuoka, so we are thinking of opening a tea shop with this, but we are still trying to figure out what else we can use it for.
You might want to use it for a tea party, rent it out as a gallery, or hold a game of shogi here. I would also be happy if you could talk to me about anything, such as if you also want a trailer like this.
I feel it would be such a shame to let the traditional culture of various regions become obsolete. It would be great if we could work together to promote Japanese traditional culture.
We are looking forward to hearing from you.

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