"The Old Endo Matabei House" - This historic mansion is only open to the public one week a year!
In 1995, the Old Endo Matabei House was awarded the 8th annual "Otaru Urban Landscape Award." With it's white stucco walls side-by-side the traditional Japanese-style architecture, it represents a period in time when it was all the craze to combine these two styles: The beginning of the Meiji Era.
Mr. Endo Matabei was born in Akita Prefecture. He first came to Otaru from Shizuoka Prefecture as a merchant looking to buy into the growing marine product market. His work eventually led him to the Otaru Chamber of Commerce and put him right in the center of the historic development of the city's main industry.
Timber from Honshu was brought in to create this beautiful white drawing room. Perhaps the most eye-catching portion of the house, this section was completed over a three year period without the use of nails.
The room is a simple Western design, which dazzles visitors without being over-decorated.
The mansion was built in 1902 on a 388 square meter plot of land, but sadly in 1984 the warehouse and guest room had to be demolished due to deterioration.
Currently, the front part of the mansion (171 square meters), two Japanese-style rooms, and the drawing room remain as they originally stood.
End-tiles from the demolished roof featuring the family crest (the golden mark) and hawk statues are on display in an exhibit on the premises, giving visitors a chance to see just how elaborate and heavy the gates used to be.
Located near the Old Endo Matabei House is a pedestrian bridge which offers a panoramic view of the entire premises. One other historic house is left across from the mansion, giving visitors a glimpse into what the old streets must have looked like.
The view of Otaru port in the distance makes it easy to imagine what life must have been like during pioneer days, and it makes you wonder who else has stood in the very same spot, looking at the very same sight.
旧 遠藤又兵衛 邸 (The Old Endo Matabei House)
(9-4 1-Chome, Tomioka, Otaru)
WEB: http://www.city.otaru.lg.jp/simin/gakushu_sports/kenzo/f_s/f_s04.html (English Available)
(Hokkaido Likers Photo Writer - Iwasaki)