岡田記念館 (Okada Memorial House) / 栃木 (Tochigi)
The Okada Family is one of the most historic and prominent families in Tochigi-city, and the present family head, Kaemon Okada is the 26th generation of the successional family line.
The Okada roots trace back to a Samurai (military) family in the 16th century but the subsequently downfall of their feudal load forced The Okada consequently to return to farming in the region. For a later few centuries, The Okada had been engaged in clearing wild lands and those cultivated fields came to be called “Kaemon Shinden” (Kaemon’s new fields) after the name of the family head. It is thus the origin of the present place name to this district “Kaemon-cho”.
Thereafter, the family heads have assumed the name of “Kaemon Okada” from generation to generation. While Tochigi prospered as a poet town for warehousing along the Nikko Reiheishi Road, The Okada played quite an important role in the local administrative services as acting for a local magistrate under the Tokugawa Shogunate and being a chief of this district in the Meiji era.
Such their long term distinguished services from the Edo to the Meiji era consequently led the Okada family into powerfulness and prominence in this community. On the other hand, the family heads over successive generations have nurtured a strong interest in art as well as in culture, which is why their extensive collection is now exhibited in three godowns on their estate.
Many famous artists and men of culture visited Tochigi via the road and the Uzuma River which passes through this city to be welcomed by the art appreciators of the family. Through their patronage over some period, they have contributed not in a small way toward improving cultural exchanges between Edo (Tokyo) and Tochigi.
The land area owned by Okada family is more than 10,000 squire meters. It is still maintained by Okada family by its private expense and cost. Okada family respects its original atmosphere and therefore, you can feel “time slip” to 19th century.
The old city “Tochigi” was one of the city of merchant. Okada family established various business based on its location which is convenient transportation to Tokyo area.
You can see tools used in those era as it is.
Do you imagine how people lived and spent their time?
There are lot of precious furnitures and potteries.
This is not the museum but privately owned memorial house. Therefore, you can enjoy conversation with Okada family if you are lucky. Please note that it is opened only weekends and national holidays.
代官屋敷 “Daikon- Yashiki” (magistrate mansion)
The Okada acted for a local magistrate for a spell during the latter part of the rule by the Tokugawa family. A magistrate mansion still remains on the estate as well preserved as it was.
Okada family stores ancient armor wares and swords. you can look at its only part of it.
The picture below is corridor made of tree stumps.
翁邸 “Okina-Tei” (Okada’s annex)
This typical Japanese residence was built by the 22nd family head, a successful merchant, for a retreat annex in 1925. Okina-tei signifies “The aged man’s residence”, since the founder lived so long as 88 years old that people called him “Okina” with respect which means “The old”.
The combination of skillful carpenters’ fine works an quite rare wood materials of high quality makes this one of the most prominent house of the Taisho era in Tochigi-city.
A beautiful bamboo forest in the garden.
liver flows along with bamboo forest. It is so beautiful.
The garden has ponds and old trees.Across the garden, there is Okina-tei.
The wood of the pillar is so precious that the door prepared to meet with pillar’s shape.
Each parts of the sliding doors are arts. The nature used as its is. Therefore, it makes us feel living in the nature.
Please loot at the wood parts of the Shoji door. These are flat wooden boards but look look like three de mentions. Nature shape of woods make such artistic images.
There are various devised preparation living in four seasons.
When you step up the stairs, you can see a window.
At the opossum side, the window can be opened. Please imagine someone is waiting for you the off side of the window and waiting for you. It is cool isn’t it?
There are various doors with functional way to enjoy four seasons.
A pendent lamp whose edges are made of woods.
The woods used in this house are very precious and unusual. These are collected all over Japan.