In the Itabashi area of Odawara, just around the corner from Korin-ji Temple, Matsunaga Memorial Hall is the former home of Yasuzaemon Matsunaga, an important figure in the development of Japan's electrical industry. Nicknamed the 'Demon of Electricity', he was also a master of tea ceremony and collector of antiques and utensils.
Walk through the gate and you come to a large pond, centerpiece of the charming garden, where you'll find a bamboo grove, ancient lanterns and sculptures, and a tea ceremony cottage. By the pond there's a pavilion and annex where you can see displays of antiques and artworks.
Climb the small hill by the pond and you come to Matsunaga's residence, an elegant Japanese style home. It's beautifully preserved, with tatami mats that are soft and cool underfoot, lots of wooden panels, sliding doors and paper screens. The large main room has picture windows all around, giving a wonderful view over the lushly green garden.
The hall is open from 9:00am to 4:00pm daily from Tuesday to Sunday. It's a short walk from Kami-Itabashi bus stop or Hakone-Itabashi station. Admission is free.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.