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  Bamboo Fences

Katsura Fence | Yotsume Fence | Kennin-ji Fence

Daimyo Fence

Bamboo fencing is a valuable element in Japanese gardening. It is a way to create a special space while adding beauty at the same time. In this installment, we demonstrate how to build the Daimyo, or Shogun style fence. The photos are taken at Otsuka Bamboo in Kyoto, Japan. For a demonstration of Japanese fence knot, see Otoko musu.

To save time, we will start with the Katsura fence sample and remove the rear upright bamboo half-rounds. (For frame and filler details, see Katsura fence) For this style, we are using pre-formed wattle. We will start with this, trim off the excess on the sides and arrange the nodes and branches.

bamboo waddle

The interior stuffing from the Katsura project is visible here and will remain as part of the Daimyo fence. We will add the new wattle trimmings to the top edge of the Daimyo project.

bamboo fence

Here the wattle has been trimmed, straightened and one row of branch nodes arranged in a very straight line. The wattle assembly has been placed on the back side of the Katsura fence frame.

bamboo fence

This installed fence shows the effect of lining up one row of branch nodes. The observer's eye locks on the straight line, appreciates the order, then moves on the the other patterns produced by the nodes in further appreciation of the un-ordered nodes.

Daimyo fence

Once the nodes are lined up and the branches arranged, the bottom compression strip is installed.

bamboo fence

Using the same procedures as with the Katsura fence wattle, further compression strips are attached, to be later covered by horizontal bamboo.

bamboo fence



The sides are again trimmed and the trimmings used to fill in.


The compression strips are now covered by horizontal bamboo half-culms Don't forget to pre-drill to prevent splitting.

bamboo strips

Here is a detail of the bamboo cover over the compression strip. Notice the bamboo membrane wall has been notched slightly to accomodate the thickness of the compression strip. It is then predrilled, screwed down, and the screws covered by black palm rope. Don't over-tighten or you will split the culm.


Of course, this is a very small, almost-finished section showing the horizontal covers (and the pointed uprights from the previous Katsura fence project). A section would normally be more like 2 meters wide.

bamboo fence

The top wattle is opened with the assistance of two thin boards and additional wattle is added to form the broom effect.

Daimyo fence

A completed Daimyo fence set above a stone knee wall. An additional horizontal bamboo of smaller diameter is added to help accentuate the broom effect. Additional half-culms are added to the top of the fence. Fasteners are hidden with decorative black palm rope. You can see how these knots are tied in this video on Simple Japanese knots.

Daimyo bamboo fence

The first part of this project can be seen as part of the article on Katsura Style Fence.

by Don Pylant, Kyoto Japan, 2001

See other fence styles here:
Katsura Fence | Yotsume Fence | Kennin-ji Fence




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