Akita, Japan Oct. 04 Wed 7:21PM
A Preserved Samurai District
Kakunodate is one of Japan's most well-preserved historical towns, and, being split into the ditricts where samurai and merchants would live separately, offers a visceral and educational glimpse into the social structure of pre-modern Japan.
The Kakunodate samurai district once was home to around 80 samurai families. Today, it is one of the best preserved and best examples of samurai architecture and housing in Japan. The houses are along wide streets with dozens of weeping cherry trees, which also make it a popular site for hanami, or cherry blossom viewing.
Six samurai houses are open to the public, and visitors to these houses can see how wealthy samurai families lived in Japan. The two most popular houses are the Aoyagi House and the Ishiguro House, which are both sizeable and well preserved.
The Aoyagi House, or Aoyagi-ke, has multiple buildings and museum collections, as well as even restuarants and souvenir shopping. There is a lot of information about the history of samurai in Kakunodate on display at the Aoyagi House.
The Ishiguro House, or Ishiguro-ke, has a smaller area open to the public, because the family still lives in the house. There are samurai clothes and armor on display, as well as a storeroom.
The other four houses are free to enter and are residences of more middle-class samurai, as opposed to the wealthy Ishiguro-ke and Aoyagi-ke.
Some of the houses are located in a second, smaller samurai district, located next to the merchant district in Kakunodake. The Nishinomiya House is the most significant compound in this district and represents a wealthy samurai family with multiple generations living at the compound. The different buildings of the complex have been converted into a museum as well as a restuarant and a shop.
The Nishinomiya House