Nightingale floor

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Nijo-jo and women by My Visita Iglesia.jpg
Nightingale floors use nails to make a chirping noise under pressure

Nightingale floors (鴬張り or 鶯張り, uguisubari) About this sound listen , were floors designed to make a chirping sound when walked upon. These floors were used in the hallways of some temples and palaces, the most famous example being Nijo Castle, in Kyoto, Japan. Dry boards naturally creak under pressure, but these floors were designed so that the flooring nails rubbed against a jacket or clamp, causing chirping noises. The squeaking floors were used as a security device, assuring that none could sneak through the corridors undetected.[1]

The "nightingale" in the English name refers to the Japanese bush warbler, or uguisu. This is a type of bushtit or nightingale native to Japan.[2]


The floors were made from dried boards. Upside-down V-shaped joints move within the boards when pressure is applied.[3]


Uguisu (鶯 or 鴬) refers to the Japanese bush-warbler. The latter segment bari (張り) comes from haru (張る), meaning "to stretch". Together this means "the sound of a Nightingale from the stretching/swelling/straining [of the floor]".


The following locations incorporate nightingale floors:

Modern influences and related topics[edit]


  1. ^ Mysterious Japan, nightingale Floor: Kyoto Japan
  2. ^ A-Z Animals, "Uguisu" under "Animals".
  3. ^, Nijo Castle under "Kyoto Travel: Nijo Castle".


External links[edit]