A tour of architectural masterpieces in Kanazawa -2-

Since Kanazawa has been spared damage by natural disasters and war, the city contains a mixture of architecture from different periods of time, such as modern contemporary buildings standing alongside historical remains from the Edo period, or wooden townhouses next to high-rise buildings. However, they all show originality while harmonizing with each other at the same time. Why not go on a trip to Kanazawa to discover its fascinating architecture? 

Our previous post; A tour of architectural masterpieces in Kanazawa -1- , introduced you to contemporary architecture in Kanazawa.

In this post, we will go back in time and take a look at constructions from the Edo period. We will particularly select some samurai residences where the samurai who served the Maeda family of the Kaga clan used to live, as well as the merchant houses that were at the center of the lives and activities of ordinary people.

Nomura-ke Samurai Residence

Ocher clay walls and cobbled alleys will take you to the site of the Nomura family’s residence. The feudal retainers of the Kaga clan lived in this corner of the Nagamachi Samurai District.

The current building, which was part of the house of a prefectural shipping wholesaler was relocated to this address. You’ll be impressed by the splendid building materials and decorations, as well as the garden with irrigation water that is drawn from the surrounding areas.

  • Address: 1-3-32, Nagamachi, Kanazawa
  • Admission fee: 550 yen

Two houses of the lower-class samurai called “ashigaru” have been relocated and recreated as a museum, which is open to the public.

Inside, you will find information on the duties and lives of the ashigaru. The old stone roofs are also worthy of your attention.

  • Address: 1-9-3, Nagamachi, Kanazawa
  • Admission fee: free

Kurando Terashima, a middle-class samurai of the Kaga clan, lived in this house.

In the Edo period, the neighborhood was a residential area for middle-class samurai, and so contained a line of samurai houses of the same size as the Terashima residence. It still retains the garden that was built at that time. You’ll be overwhelmed by its seasonal beauty; the azaleas, which are over 300 years old, bloom in the spring and tree leaves change color in the fall.

  • Address: 10-3 Ohte-machi, Kanazawa
  • Admission fee: 310 yen

Tateno Family’s Residence

This is a workplace for the tatami-mat artisans in Daiku-machi (which literally means “carpenter town”), where a number of carpenters lived during the Edo period.

Even now, tatami mats are made in an open space called the Mise-no-ma. This faces the street and evokes images of how the artisans in the Edo period worked. 

  • Address: 37 Daiku-machi, Kanazawa

Takagi Kouji Syouten

This large townhouse is located close to the Higashi Chaya-gai District.

The second floor features a distinctive plaster wall finish for fire protection. In the store that contains historical remnants, staff manufacture “koji” using an old-stylemanufacturing method. Koji is used to make traditional Japanese seasonings, such as soy sauce and miso. They also sell miso and amazake made with homemade koji. 

  • Address: 1-9-3, Higashiyama, Kanazawa

Tawaraya

This is a candy specialty store founded in 1830. The candies are made using only rice and barley and have become popular souvenirs from Kanazawa. 

The building, which is believed to have been constructed in the late Edo period, is a typical townhouse in Kanazawa. It features a second floor with a low ceiling, a latticed door on the first floor, and a door known as “shitomido” that flips open and swings upward.

  • Address: 2-4, Kobashi-machi, Kanazawa