In the middle of Tokyo, only five minutes from Daikanyama station lies a hidden gem. Who would have known, that in the modern city of Japan’s capital you could find a traditional Japanese house that you can enter, smell the scent of tatami, get in touch with traditional architecture, and see everything first hand?
Well hidden behind luxurious handbag stores and super expensive clothing shops there is a magic Japanese house that will immediately let you connect with the past and will give you a moment of quiet peace.
Officially known as the Kyu Asakura House (旧朝倉家住宅 literally “former Asakura House”), this is a historic and traditional Japanese house with a huge garden located close to Daikanyama station in Shibuya, Tokyo.
Build in 1919 by the Japanese municipal and ward chairman Torajiro Asakura it was used as his house to live in and to conduct business. Amazingly, it survived the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and the Second World War. The two story house is surrounded by a huge traditional Japanese garden and is currently owned by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (文部科学省 Monbu-kagaku-shō), also known as MEXT.
In 2004, the house was made an Important Cultural Property by the Japanese government. It is organised and supervised by the Shibuya City Government and is open to visitors as a museum.
While the house mostly has big Japanese tatami rooms, some western style rooms can bee seen there, too. Bedrooms, kitchens, tearooms, most of the rooms can be visited. Stripped off all interior decoration and furniture, exposing only empty rooms, visitors are encouraged to imagine what kind of life the house must have had more than half a century ago.
After you visit the house, you can always take a walk in the small and charming neighbourhoods of Daikanyama and Nakameguro. You will find small shops, restaurants, bars and cafes to make your relaxing day complete.
Kyu Asakura House on the Shibuya City website.