Kura buildings are traditional Japanese storehouses. They go back to the Yayoi period (500BC – 300AD). They are made of stone instead of the usual wood out of which most buildings in Japan are constructed. Since earthquakes strike regularly in Japan, buildings in which valuables are stored are made of stone.

In the Tokyo district of Nippori, there is a stone kura storehouse that was originally built exclusively for the storage of kimonos. It often took several months to paint a kimono by hand. Their beauty and the amount of work they represent makes them valuable objects that had to be safely stored. People who deposited a kimono in that kura were given a receipt that had a monetary value and circulated as such.