Tracing Back Nagoya's History Through Nagoya Cultural Path
A district filled with historical buildings and houses.
As I knew that Nagoya is Japan's fourth-largest and capital city of Aichi Prefecture, I pictured Nagoya as a big metropolitan area. I would never expect that I could find a tourism attraction that has a relation with Japanese history. Without any hesitation, I visited Nagoya Cultural Path during my trip there.
Nagoya Cultural Path (NCP)
or locally known as Bunka No Michi (文化のみち) is a district between Nagoya Castle and Tokugawaen where the variety of preserved historical buildings located. These buildings are a valuable asset because they trace the journey of Nagoya City's modernization.
During the Edo period (1603-1868), the district was a residential area for middle and lower-class samurai. Through the Meiji (1868-1912), Taisho (1912-1926), and early Showa (1926-1989) era, it became a place for journalists, missionaries, entrepreneurs, artists, and other important figures to interact, exchange ideas, and explore their skills.
The historical buildings in NCP are located in separate streets though they are still in the same district. This makes the access to NCP is depend on each person, which building this person wants to visit first.
In my case, Futaba Museum was the building that I aim for so that the nearest Nagoya City Subway station is Takaoka, walk from there for about 10 minutes. Other stations that near are Higashiote (Meitetsu Seto Line), Shiyakusho (Meijo Line), and Hisayaodori (Meijo and Sakuradori Line).
List of All Buildings
Up until now, 41 buildings are registered as NCP's property and welcome visitors. They vary from governmental office buildings, museums, schools, restaurants, to shrines. Each building has a different entrance fee, rules, opening and closing date, and time. That information and the list of all buildings can be found in NCP printed map, which I include below:
Cultural Path Futaba Museum & Shumokukan
Since I came on January 4th (fell on new year holiday where many places are still closed) and had a short time in Nagoya, I only could visit 2 buildings out of 41.
The first one was Cultural Path Futaba Museum. During the Taisho period, this museum was home to Sadayakko Kawakami, Japan's first actress, and Momosuke Fukuzawa, the director of Nagoya Dento (Nagoya's electricity company).
Both were business partners in hydroelectric power generation, using Nagoya as their base. Futaba Museum is sometimes called Futaba Palace. It does looks like a palace and has an extensive mix of Japanese and Western architecture styles, equipped with red roof tile, stained glass windows, circular stairs, a grand parlor, and a tatami room.
The current Futaba Museum is the year 2005 restored building, different from the actual building where Kawakami and Fukuzawa lived. After being restored, Futaba Museum was selected by the government as a registered tangible cultural property and the center of NCP where visitors can find the literary materials pertaining to the museum as well as the life story of Sadayakko and Momosuke.
Just a short walk from Futaba Museum, Shumokukan was my next destination. These two buildings are somewhat similar, in the sense of the construction time, the previous and the current function, the mixture of Japanese-Western style building, and the tangible cultural property designation.
Shumokukan was built at the end of the Taisho to the beginning of the Showa period as the residence of a notable pottery and porcelain merchant, Tamesaburo Imoto.
Throughout his life, he established his own business, Imoto Shoten (now Imoto Sangyo Ltd.), and worked as the chairman of the Nagoya Pottery and Porcelain Exporters Guild, and counted as one of the leading figures in that industry.
The main building of Shumokukan consists of two stories where three exhibition rooms, two tatami rooms, a former kitchen, a former changing room, and a former bathroom located. Earthen-walled storehouse, tea ceremony room, and garden are located apart from the main building.
The exhibition room mainly showcasing the potteries, the furniture, and the photographs, that have a close relation with Tamesaburo Imoto. The storehouse, tea ceremony room, and tatami rooms are available for public use.
My Two Cents
- Just go walking around the cultural path if you have no time to visit the buildings at all. It will give you a "Am I truly in Japan? Not in Europe?" kind of vibe since the buildings and the surroundings are rich in western-style influence. Not like what you usually find in Japan.
- The entrance ticket for Futaba Museum and Shumokukan is ¥200 respectively. But if you want to visit both of them, you can buy the combination ticket for only ¥320.
- If you visit Shumokukan, visit the cafe next to the main entrance as well. Its ambience is nice and cozy. Plus, its pancake and tea are to die for! Super delicious!
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