bunkyo-ku shibamata

Three large residential traditional houses in Tokyo worth visiting

Tokyo is infamously known as the city that was twice destroyed: the Great Earthquake of 1923 and the bombings of World War II. Nevertheless, many old buildings from the 17th century have survived. When we talk about residential houses it is a different matter, they are subject to more frequent demolishment and renewal. In particular the evolving earthquake regulations have led to many buildings being replaced by more earthquake-resistant ones.

In Europe often only the facade of the old building is left, maintaining an old appearance of the city centre, but in fact the houses behind the facade are new. In Japan, as the buildings were built in wood, keeping the facade is much more complicated. An old character of a whole street can hence only be found in a limited number of streets/districts such as Shibamata in Tokyo or Higashiyama in Kyoto.

However, several traditional residential houses actually did survive. Not just your regular small dwellings, but houses of rich and important figures, now open for a visit. These types of houses are rare, rare in Tokyo, but also rare in the rest of Japan. Important for all of these houses is how the garden is an essential component of the house.





Names in Japanese:
旧安田楠雄邸庭園 (Old Yasuda House), 旧朝倉家住宅 (Kyū-Asakura house), 山本亭 (Yamamoto-tei)