Kusakabe Folk Museum in Takayama

Posted on October 1, 2018 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

Takayama

The view of the city from my room in the morning

 

I am not sure if it was due to the weather or flocks of tourists, but I was slightly disappointed with Takayama city centre after spending an afternoon walking around. Luckily, I woke up the next day and the clouds have cleared; the sun and blue sky completely changed my mood (and the cityscape), and I felt ready to explore the city more before leaving.

My first stop was one of Takayama's famous morning markets, Miyagawa market, by the Miyagawa River.

 

Takayama  Takayama

takayama Miyagawa market

takayama Miyagawa markettakayama Miyagawa market

takayama Miyagawa market

Miyagawa market

 

The Miyagawa market is a popular tourist attraction because there are over 60 stalls as well as shops selling souvenir, local sweets, and handicrafts (esp. wood-carved items) made by local artisans. Meanwhile, there are also vegetable stalls selling local produce, and street food vendours where visitors could try out the street snacks.

 

takayama

takayama cherry blossom

takayama

takayama

Miyagawa river

 

After a pleasant stroll along the river and market, I spent the next hour or so at the beautiful Kusakabe Folk Museum which is located near the river. Constructed in Meiji period (1879), this house is the first merchant's house to be designated as a National Important Cultural Treasure, along with the adjoining Yoshijima House. And in recent years, this private residence was turned into a folk museum that allow visitors to learn more about local crafts and folk art.

 

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe folk museum

 

Hida Takayama was ruled directly under Shogun Tokugawa in 1692 and for the next 176 years, the city was ruled by The Tokugawa shogunate, the last feudal Japanese military government (Edo period). Visitors to Takayama can learn more about the city's history at the Takayama Jinya, the last surviving government house of The Tokugawa shogunate. Due to limited time, I wasn't able to visit this house, but the Kusakabe folk museum offers an interesting insight because the Kusakabe were a family of merchants that worked for the shogunate and prospered during that period.

 

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum  Kusakabe Folk Museum

 

In 1879, after the original building was burnt down in a fire four years ago, a master builder called Jisuke Kawajiri rebuilt the house in its traditional Edo period style showcasing his exceptional craftsmanship. The house was built entirely in Japanese cypress, and the most spectacular feature of the building is the interlocking roof beams which reveal the beauy of the locally sourced Japanese red pine.

Another impressive feature is the stunning Butsudan (family Buddhist altar) which cost three hundred taels (around 10 billion yen in today’s money) to construct. The altar, along with the Kago ( the carriage of the Kusukabe bride) and the bride's costume, were saved from the fire that destroyed the building.

 

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum  Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

 

Aside from the main building, there is a library at the back of the courtyard where visitors can view a variety of folkcraft from the area, including furniture, basketry and a vast collection of Hida ceramics. The small craft shop also sells many beautiful everyday objects made by local artisans.

I think this folk museum is really worth visiting for its stunning architecture and craft display. If I return to the city again, I would certainly pay a visit to the Yoshijima House nearby.

 

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum  Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum  Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

Kusakabe Folk Museum

 

 

 

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This post was posted in Architecture, Travel, Traditional arts & crafts, Anything Japanese, Architectural conservation, ceramics & potteries, Japan, Folk arts & Mingei and was tagged with Markets, traditional crafts, folk arts & craft, Architectural conservation, Japanese architecture, ceramics & potteries, Hida Takayama

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