Matto Furusato-kan in Ishikawa

Visit a historical residence and garden near Kanazawa

By Peter Sidell    - 2 min read

On a visit to Kanazawa one time, I took a trip out to the suburb of Matto, to visit the delightful Nakagawa Kazumasa Art Museum. While I was there, I took a look around to see what else I could find; the other main attraction was this charming historical residence, the Furusato-kan.

Before World War II this was the residence of Yoshida Mohei, a successful local businessman. It was built in the elegant, traditional style of the time, the size of the house and garden and space clearly showing the prosperity of the family.

The sumptuous traditional interior
The sumptuous traditional interior

There's plenty to enjoy about the interior of the building, with its spacious rooms and peaceful atmosphere. The tatami mats are soft and cool underfoot, and match perfectly with the sliding screen doors, the wooden beams and pillars, and the deep red of the walls.

As you walk around, you can also see plenty of features typical of Japanese homes of the time. There's a hearth in the middle of the floor, a display of toys, ornaments and beautiful hina dolls used for the annual girls' festival, an alcove with a hanging scroll painting, and exquisitely crafted ventilation panels above the doors, carved with delicate designs of trees and birds.

The relaxing garden
The relaxing garden

The adjoining garden is a lovely place to stroll around slowly, probably little changed since Yoshida and his family would walk here a hundred years ago. Follow the paths and you pass stone lanterns and a miniature pond, cross a little bridge over a stream, and the trees and shrubs that change to provide different scenery in every season.

Getting there

It's just two minutes' walk from Matto station, which is a ten-minute ride from Kanazawa on the JR Hokuriku line; trains run roughly twice an hour. It's open daily except Mondays from 9:00am to 5:00pm (with a short closure over the New Year period); it's open on Monday if it's a national holiday, closing on the Tuesday instead. Admission is free.

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Peter Sidell

Peter Sidell @peter.sidell

I came to Japan from Manchester, England in 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I'm not working, I write satire and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check YouTube for a taste.

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Elizabeth S a month ago
That warm red interior is striking. I've also seen inky black walls in tatami rooms.