Published: July 7, 2009
Tokyo Metropolitan Park Association's Website
Kyu-Iwasaki-tei is a residence in which Japanese and Western elements are placed side by side. It was constructed in Shitaya-kaya-cho (present-day Ikenohata, Taito City), Tokyo, as the principal residence of the Iwasaki family, who was the founder of the Mitsubishi group, in 1896. The residential land was once owned by the Sakakibara family of the Echigo Takada clan in the Edo Period, and by the Makino family of the Maizuru clan in the early Meiji Era. The elegant residence also has a large modern lawn garden in which Japanese and Western elements are placed side by side. The garden follows the style of "Daimyo-teien" garden in which garden stones, lanterns and artificial hills are placed. Kyu-Iwasaki-tei had more than 20 buildings on approximately 49,590 square meters of the grounds when it was completed. However, only three structures remain in the present, which are the Western-style, two-storied wooden house with a basement, a part of the Japanese-style house connected to the Western-style house, and a billiard room placed a short distance away from the main house. The Western-style house and the billiard room were designated as important cultural properties in 1961. The main hall of the Japanese-style house and the "sodebei" side wall were also designated as important cultural properties in 1969, and the whole residence including the residential site, the brick wall and measured drawings of these in 1999.
The magnificent sodebei wall is placed on a hill, a short distance from the main gate of Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Garden. "Sangai-bishi," a crest of the Iwasaki Family, is engraved in the center of the gate. The corporate emblem of the Mitsubishi group is designed based on Sangai-bishi.
The back of the Western-style house faces the garden, and is ornamented with a Tuscan colonnade. The second floor has a veranda with an Ionian colonnade. The so-called "colonial style," which is often seen in country houses in Pennsylvania in the United States, is also applied to the house. [Click to enlarge the picture.]
On the side of the house, there is a sun parlor in which commemorative photographs of Hisaya Iwasaki, the third head of the Mitsubishi group, who had lived here, and the Iwasaki family are preserved. [Click to enlarge the picture.]
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