The Main Building of Yanagisawa Family’s house 旧柳澤家住宅主屋

As I wrote the other day, the Tokyo Heritage Week has started last weekend. Today I’d like to write about the Main Building of Yanagisawa Family’s house. This house is open to the public only few times a year including Culture Day, 3rd November. This minka style house is located in a quite residential area in Tokyo. The closest station is Daitabashi station, which is only 2 stations away from crazy busy Shinjuku.

Minka means a house for ordinary people such as farmers, fishermen and merchants. This particular one was built in 1951 after the owner’s previous house was burned down during the war. As the house was built just for the owner and her sister, the main building is quite compact and simple with just an entrance, living room, Japanese room, and storage (kitchen). It was designed by Yasube Ito the architect famous for Mingei (Japanese folk art movement).

I liked the combination of the western style sitting room and Japanese room. There are a fake fireplace in the sitting room and western style furniture including Windsor chairs. The Japanese room is adjacent to the living room and the floor is higher than the other one. The floor height is different so that eye levels of a person sitting on the floor in the Japanese room and a person sitting in the chair in the living room will be aligned.


There’s also a newer house in the same property. This building isn’t listed, but it’s gorgeous too. My favourite part of the house was the tea room. It has several small windows through which sunlight steams in softly.



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