Architect Jun Hirai, 35, lives and works in a refurbished traditional "minka" house built during the Meiji Era (1868-1912) in Obama, Fukui Prefecture.

The house belonged to a relative and Hirai took it over two years ago and restored it.

He remembers the day he looked with admiration at the exposed frame in the ceiling: three 8-meter-long pine beams twisted together to support the roof, which they had successfully done for more than 130 years.