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Traditional Japanese House: Nomura Samurai House & Garden

Nomura Samurai House is an historic home and garden in Nagamachi, a historic district to the west of Kanazawa Castle. Nagamachi was formerly the area where the samurai of Kanazawa lived with their families. Today the area looks the same as it did in the Edo era, with canals and cobbled streets that run between tile-topped walls.  The house belonged to the Nomuras, a wealthy samurai family who served the ruling Maeda family from the 16th century until the end of the Edo period in the mid 19th century.

The front gate of the residence
The front gate of the residence.

Once inside the outer walls of the residence one passes over large stepping stones through an entrance garden and then into the house.

Large stepping stones lead into the house.
Large stepping stones lead into the house.

Inside you will find heirloom antiques and artifacts of the past: a suit of armour, beautifully painted fusuma screen doors, elegantly carved ramma transoms, and a ceiling paneled with cypress wood.

Samurai armour in the entryway.
Samurai armour in the entryway.

 

Engawa – a long narrow wood floor laid along the perimeter of a room in a Japanese house and used as a corridor or entrance.  It may be enclosed by sliding shutters or it may be left open.
Engawa – a long narrow wood floor laid along the perimeter of a room in a Japanese house and used as a corridor or entrance.  It may be enclosed by sliding shutters or it may be left open.

 

Ramma are carved wooden transoms above sliding doors. The spaces in the carving allow air to flow into the room even when the doors are closed.
Ramma are carved wooden transoms above sliding doors. The spaces in the carving allow air to flow into the room even when the doors are closed.

 

Painted screen doors.
Painted screen doors.
Inner garden with stone lanterns, waterfall, and a pond of colorful koi carp.
Inner garden with stone lanterns, waterfall, and a pond of colorful koi carp.

 

A first view of the garden.
A first view of the garden.

 

Viewing the garden.
Viewing the garden.

 

Despite its relatively small size, this lush green garden was listed in 2003 by the Journal of Japanese Gardening as one of the three top gardens in Japan. The rooms are arranged so that the garden can be viewed from different angles. In this house the tea room is on the second level.

A view from the tea room.
A view from the tea room.

All photographs by John Ota.