The Nakamachi District is a preserved area of townscape in the castle town of Hirosaki. It was built in the area of the castle's north entrance area, at the time known as the Oite Gate. Four homes are open to the public: the Itō-bukeyashiki, Iwada-bukeyashiki, Umeda-bukeyashiki and Sasamori-bukeyashiki. These homes feature ornate entrances and tatami-laden rooms. They recall to us the simple and robust lifestyles of the urban middle-class samurai of Edo Japan. It seems there are several more bukeyashiki still extant in the district besides, but these are not open to the public and presumably still lived in.
The Itō-bukeyashiki was the residence of a man of learning, the clan doctor. It was originally actually located in the Motonaga neighbourhood but was moved to be with other extant bukeyashiki in the Nakamachi neighbourhood in 1975, and it was restored as close to its original appearance as possible. Presumably up until that time it had been lived in by its previous owners. The house is thought to have been constructed in the early 19th century. Its simple but rigidly constructed floors and shelves creates a calm space of a feudal residence. There are about five main rooms, all roughly square, not including the kitchen, and there is a mezzanine room above.
The Itō Residence, a prefecturally designated historical site, was unfortunately closed during my visit to Hirosaki in 2017. These are exterior photos only. One photo shows the historic streetscape lined with hedgerows.
|Itou Residence Profile
|Late 19th century
|From July to October open everyday except Tuesdays and Fridays, and the 13th of August; from November to March open only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, excluding years end; 10am to 4pm
|Hirosaki, Aomori Prefecture
|40° 36' 47.16" N, 140° 27' 53.10" E
|Hirosaki Castle and nearby Samurai Homes