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Wooden Structure

Case Study - Miyadaiku & BLK3D

By Masaomi Akaike


BLK3D works for Japanese tradition

The Leica BLK3D with its stereo camera system launched in 2019. It allows users to capture images like taking photos with a smartphone, generate 3D data on the spot, and perform 3D measurements while viewing the photos (2D). It enables easy measurement of distances in hard-to-reach places or from data captured in the past. Tasks that previously required measurement with a laser rangefinder, on-site surveys by two people, or the installation of target plates can now be performed on images. We visited Wakamatsu Shaji (headquarters in Kuwana City, Mie Prefecture) to learn how it is used during on-site surveys and heard about its applications.


Wakamatsu Shaji specializes in the design and construction of shrines and temples (miyadaiku). Just like with residential buildings, conducting on-site surveys is necessary when designing shrines and temples. They use the BLK3D to obtain data on the joinery, pillars, beams, and other elements of shrines and temples, and utilize the BLK3D for measuring the dimensions of the current conditions. Generally, when people think of miyadaiku (shrine and temple carpenters), they may imagine work that is the opposite of digitalization. However, they extensively utilize data in their work. Here, we will introduce how they use the Leica BLK3D, including their workflow.

BLK3D – Reality Capture

In the on-site surveys of shrines and temples, the BLK3D proves particularly useful for measuring the length of high-altitude areas. Measurements during sales/quoting are often conducted while accompanying the client, and in many cases, subsequent on-site surveys in inaccessible areas must be completed quickly. Furthermore, since ladders cannot be brought in (or there may be no space for them), there have been many instances where length had to be estimated visually, leading to potential errors (optical illusions), which could impact quotations. Additionally, Mr. Kenta Watanabe (President and CEO of Wakamatsu Shaji) explains, "Shrines and temples are not local sites; most of them are located outside the prefecture, far away. For repairs, precise measurements of all details are necessary. Forgetting to take measurements would result in additional costs such as round trips and time."

Before accepting an order (during sales/quoting), rough measurements are taken with the BLK3D, and then the data is converted into CAD based on "Shoumei," which is a document summarizing the design and dimensions of Japanese architecture. However, since there may be discrepancies with Shoumei, the numerical values from the BLK3D become crucial. Moreover, the captured data (3D Image) from the BLK3D can be opened and measured at the office anytime, contributing not only to reducing on-site stay time but also to improving work efficiency at the office.

Individual observing structure data from BLK3D displayed on computer

Wooden structure building phase

Wooden structure building phase

Next Steps

Wakamatsu Shaji is responsible for the investigation, design, construction, and supervision management of wooden structures in shrines, temples, and similar architectural settings. However, due to being a small-scale organization, Mr. Watanabe handles everything himself. This includes surveying, creating design data, estimating costs, generating quotations, contract negotiations, ordering materials, creating construction drawings, carpentry work, and creating full-size templates. To alleviate some of the workload, they adopted the BLK3D. After discovering the BLK3D through an internet search, there were moments where they almost gave up on purchasing it (they even forgot the product name). However, they remembered it from the "Leica" brand name and purchased it in 2023. There are still some concerns about measurement accuracy. To address this, they provided guidance on the accuracy feedback indicated by "green," "yellow," and "red" during measurements, and plan to utilize it for future on-site surveys (Reference: BLK3D Best Practices). Additionally, they requested to try using Leica 3D Disto target seals for even higher accuracy measurements.


Mr. Watanabe mentioned the effectiveness of using BLK3D for on-site surveys, stating, "I can do the survey alone, it's safe to measure even at heights, the speed is one-third, the manpower has been reduced from 2 people to 1 person, and what used to take 2 to 3 days for surveying is now done in 1 day. Additionally, the response time has also improved." For photography at heights, they also recommended using the BLK3D Tripod Adapter and Leica TRI 10 tripod. This discussion provided valuable insights into how BLK3D can assist in the traditional Japanese profession of "miyadaiku" (carpenters specialized in shrine and temple construction).