A few minutes' walk north of Matsumoto Castle, the Takahashi Family Residence is a beautifully restored old samurai house, open to the public as a museum to show how people lived during the late Edo and early Meiji eras in the 18th and 19th centuries.
It was owned by the Matsumoto domain and used as a residence for feudal retainers; it's not known exactly when the house was built, but it was the home of the Takahashi family from 1726 to 2004, when it was donated to Matsumoto City. It was then restored to a floor plan from a document dating back to 1883.
The main space is divided by sliding screen doors into four rooms, all with tatami mats that are soft and cool underfoot. At the rear there's a small garden, which would have been admired by successive Takahashi generations from a south-facing porch.
Explore more on our feature page covering Sapporo, Matsumoto, and Kagoshima
If you're walking, it'll be likely about ten minutes through the back streets north of the castle. If you're using the 'Town Sneaker' tourist bus, the residence is about eight minutes' walk from the Kyukaichi-Gakko stop on the north route.
From March to November, the house is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm at weekends and on national holidays. From December to February, the house is open only on Sundays, and closes for the year end and New Year holidays. 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.