Kawara Residence

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The Kawara Residence is estimated to be the oldest home among the three in Sakura. The earliest record notes it's existence in 1845. The home was donated to the city in 1987. The inside is opened 4 times a year on national holidays. Check the website for details.

  • Home and vegetable garden
  • Side of the home
  • Kitchen area
  • Kitchen area
  • Thatch roof, called kaya-buki
  • Interior
  • Interior

  • Kawara Residence Profile
    English Name Kawara Residence
    Japanese Name 旧河原家住宅
    Year Latter Edo Period
    Residence Type Upper Class
    Designations Registered Tangible Cultural Property, Prefectural Historic Site
    Features House
    Visitor Information Open 9:00-17:00, last entry 16:30; 210 yen admission for all three houses
    Website http://sakuraseeing.city.sakura.lg.jp/en/discover/history03.html
    Location Sakura, Chiba Prefecture
    Castle Sakura Castle
    Coordinates 35° 43' 0.05" N, 140° 13' 30.18" E
    Sakura Castle and nearby Samurai Homes
    Loading map...
    Visits March 22, 2008
    Added Jcastle 2018

    (2 votes)
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    58 months ago
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    河原武家屋敷 [佐倉] Kawara-Bukeyashiki (Sakura)

    This samurai house is one of three standing in a row along a road leading to Sakura Castle in Sakura City, Chiba Prefecture. The road is lined on both sides with dorui (earthen embankments). These earthen ramparts afforded protection to the samurai residences situated behind them. Hedges were planted atop of them to provide privacy (they are high enough for someone on horseback not to be able to peer over), as well as to hold the earth in place. Between the houses, which were quite tightly packed to conserve land resources, rows of trees were planted. This provided some privacy from neighbours and would also impede the spread of fire should one of the neighbour’s homes go up in flames.

    Kawara-Bukeyashiki is the most prestigious house of the three today, built in the 1800s (sometime before 1845) for an upper middle-class retainer. The architectural features of the home, including lavish panelling on the sliding doors, indicate the prestige of its owner and his high-rank in service of the Sakura Daimyō. In the front of the home is a garden designed for beauty and relaxation, and at the back is a plot of farmland once attended to by local peasants. The man of the house lived separately from his family for the most part. The floor in the Nando, living room for the family, is plain wood panelling. The head of the house spent his time in the Ima (living room), which had tatami matting. The largest room in the house was reserved as a Zashiki (guest room), adjacent to the Genkan (parlour), and two anterooms, naka no ma (inner room) and tsugi no ma (adjoining room). The Doma (kitchen area) so-called because of its earth floor, bordered the cha no ma (tea room / dining room) and the Otokobeya, which was a tiny room used by the house’s servants to rest in (handy-man's room). It seems that the kitchen stove had originally been borrowed from a neighbouring house. In the rigorous residential system implemented in the domain from 1833, each retainer’s rank dictated whether his bukeyashiki would be a lower, middling or upper home. Space was at a premium and if a retainer was demoted or promoted he and his family would move into a new home corresponding to their changing fortunes.

    Kawara-Bukeyashiki backs onto a slope covered in bamboo. This was used by the family as part of their forest-agricultural pursuits. The bamboo roots provided nutritious meals in spring time, and the bamboo itself would stop soil erosion on the hillside. These homes are very well integrated with nature. Middle-class samurai could not afford to be wasteful. Their stipends from their lords were sometimes fairly stringent, and so they used the small plots of lands afforded them to produce extra food and goods, often employing peasants to help them. It must’ve been quite nice compared to service in Edo for Samurai of limited means however, as in the urban centres many samurai occupied cramped single room quarters away from their families and had very little money to spend. What money they had went on entertainments and provisions. Although there would be no geisha or kabuki shows back home in the country, there was more room and the samurai could be connected to the land again, even if they didn’t technically own it.