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Living Museum of Traditional Homes
in the Hot Spring Village

edomura_02.jpgThe museum was opened recently in September 2010. So far they’ve relocated and reconstructed the homes of eight families from Kanazawa, Toyama, and Fukui, for a total of five Samurai homes and three farmer’s homes. When I arrived at the ticket office, I was amazed by the multilingual support that the museum offers. In addition to pamphlets, each house has an audio guide available in Japanese, English, Chinese and Korean—the perfect setup for foreigners looking to learn more about the history of Japan. Just so you know, the audio guide carries a 1,000 yen deposit, which you get back upon returning the equipment. Also, each room follows a “shoes off” rule. I wish I had known—I wore my lace-up boots that day, and spent half the time taking them on and off! I suggest wearing shoes that are easy to slip in and out of when you visit the museum.

By SHIZUO
Published: January 31, 2011

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旧多賀家表門
Kyu Taga-Ke Omote-Mon
(Front Gate of the Old Taga Family)


I didn’t notice that this gate was also one of the exhibits until the end of my eight home tour. The Taga family were highly ranked Samurai whose home was originally in Kenroku-Motomachi, Kanazawa. The gate was since transferred here where the mud walls of the home were restored with traditional techniques.

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旧松下家
National Important Cultural Property
Kyu Matsushita-Ke
(Home of the Old Matsushita Family)

edomura_08.psdThis merchant family sold all types of seeds to farmers and operated a café on the Hokkoku-Kaido Road. The business family lived in Izumi, Kanazawa, and their home was built in the 1800s. While it appears as a one-storied home from the outside, it has the second floor as well. The wooden front shutter, or Shitomi-Do, edomura_07.psdslides open to reveal the entire front room. This architecture was typical for shop in the Edo period.

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旧山川家
Prefectural Tangible Cultural Property
Kyu Yamakawa-Ke
(Home of the Old Yamakawa Family)

edomura_09.psdBuilt around 1830, this red house was home to the Yamakawa family of successful financial and business brokers. The building was previously in Tatemachi, Kanazawa. The first Yamakawa was also a tea master, so he built a wonderful tea ceremony room in the building. The gabled roof with stones and the skirted eaves are typical of an old Kanazawa townhouse. There is also a huge warehouse edomura_05.psdconstructed of plaster connected to the main house, where you can see tools from the time.

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旧永井家
Municipal Tangible Cultural Property
Kyu Nagai-Ke
(Home of the Old Nagai Family)

edomura_12.psdThe Nagai family originally belonged to the infantry class and were successive Kendo (Japanese fencing) instructors for the Kaga-Han Lord. Ryutaro Nagai, one of the former political leaders during the Taisho and Showa period, was born and grew in the house. The home is frugal, with six-mat living rooms and four-mat side rooms.edomura_17.psdThe sled Ryutaro once rode is on display here. The building was formerly near the Sai-Gawa river in Kikugawa, Kanazawa.

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旧石倉家
National Important Cultural Property
Kyu Ishikura-Ke
(Home of the Old Ishikura Family)

edomura_16.psdThis fabulous house was built in Minami Echizen-Cho, Fukui, as a guest house for Daimyo lords or other travelers. It was also used as an official inn during Sankin-Kotai (the Daimyo’s annual travel to the capital). The original building burnt down in 1867, but was immedietly rebuilt the following year.In 1878, the Meiji Emperor stopped by the inn for a break on his trip to the Hokuriku region. You can see the Imperial edomura_15.psdthrone in the back room. While the living room is equipped with an Irori fireplace, I have to wonder if it’s enough to heat up the huge room with its high ceilings in the cold winters!

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旧平家
Prefectural Tangible Cultural Property
Kyu Daira-Ke
(Home of the Old Daira Family)

The building was first built in the 17th century, then rebuilt at a new location in the 18th century. In the meantime, the Daira family were the headmen for Yanagida village in the Noto peninsula. Although they were farmers, they still had a proper Tatami room and a waiting room for guest. The earthen floor and the wooden verandah doubled as a workship on rainy days. The layout of the rooms is typical for the North Noto peninsula region, and the steep thatched roof serves to both insulate heat and promote air flow.

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旧野本家
Municipal Tangible Cultural Property
Kyu Nomoto-Ke
(Home of the Old Nomoto Family)

The Nomoto family were also headman for the Yanagida village in the Noto peninsula, but this house was built around 1820, later than the Daira’s. It’s interesting to note the earthen floor, which was sometimes used as a courthouse, implying that theirs was an intelligent, law-abiding society. There is a guest room, an anteroom, and a room for servants hung from the ceiling like a loft. Wealthy farmers know how to live! edomura_21.psdThe house also features a beautiful thatched roof that needs to be seen to be believed.

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旧高田家
Prefectural Tangible Cultural Property
Kyu Takada-Ke
(Home of the Old Takada Family)

edomura_24.psdThis building was first build deep in the mountains in the 18th century in the charcoal-making village Yuwaku Kawachi-Machi in Kanazawa. The Kawamura family originally lived in the house before ownership transferred to the Takada family. The new owners brought about great renovations. The building has a stable, edomura_23.psdan earthen floor with a kitchen, a living room, a bedroom, and a back room with a Buddhist altar. The layout is typical of the Kaga region.

Kanazawa Yuwaku Edo-Mura / Map

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