This rather lavish residence was probably built in 1759 as per an inscription found in the house. The house sits just outside the Ninomaru Bailey. The official name of the residence is the Osuemachi Residence or the North Residence. The nickname Umoreginoya was given to the residence by Ii Naosuke. As the 14th son of Ii Naonaka, it was highly unlikely he would ever ascend to become daimyo or hold a high ranking position. As the son of a concubine and not the successor of the daimyo he had to live "outside" the castle in this "frugal" residence. Naosuke devoted himself to various studies and martial arts. The name umoreginoya is derived from a bogwood (umoregi) that even though it may be buried and forgotten it's spirit is not dead and may still be useful. Through some fate of his older brothers being adopted into other families or dying early, Naosuke would became daimyo at the age of 32 after living in the Umorginoya and studying for 15 years.
Perhaps due to his studies and contemplative nature, Ii Naosuke quickly became a trusted advisor of the Tokugawa. He became famous for helping to open Japan to foreign trade and signing the Harris Treaty. He was killed in the Sakuradamon Incident of 1860.
In the Meiji Period (1871), the house was sold to a private owner. It suffered much damage in a large snowstorm in 1984, but the government offered to pay for repairs if they could survey the site and make it open to the public. The house was opened to the public in 1991.
|Designations||Important Cultural Property, National Historic Site|
|Features||Gates, Garden, House, Warehouses|
|Visitor Information||Open 9am-5pm; closed Mondays (except holidays, then Tuesday), also closed Dec 20-End Feb.|
|Location||Hikone, Shiga Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 16' 32.30" N, 136° 15' 23.04" E|
|Hikone Castle and nearby Samurai Homes|
|Visits||November 4, 2022|