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Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens: a mansion that has stood for over 100 years



2021.08.05 (Thu)

By Charlotte, long-term Tokyo resident & history-loving traveler

It's August, and the summer heat is in full swing. In this issue, I would like to introduce Kyu-Iwasaki-tei (old Iwasaki house) Gardens in Taito City, as a spot to enjoy yourself while taking shelter from the hot summer sun.

Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens is a metropolitan park consisting of the remaining part of a mansion and its garden built over 100 years ago in 1896. The mansion's architectural style and the garden's historical importance have been highly rated, and the entire site has been designated as an Important Cultural Property of Japan. The mansion was built by Hisaya Iwasaki, the third president of the predecessor company of Mitsubishi Corporation, a large Japanese general trading company that is still active at the forefront of international trade today. He became president at the young age of 29 and expanded Mitsubishi group by diversifying its business.

The four facilities that still remain in Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens are a Western-style building, a billiard room, a Japanese-style building, and a garden. The Western-style building was designed by the English architect Josiah Condor, based on the image of a country house in Pennsylvania, where Hisaya had previously studied. Hisaya is said to have used this building to hold Iwasaki family gatherings and parties for guests. An underground passageway inside leads to a billiard room designed in the style of a Swiss mountain lodge. The Japanese-style building, which still has a large hall that was used for ceremonial occasions, is built in the traditional Japanese architectural style of ‘Shoin-zukuri’. The garden is a mix of Japanese and Western styles, and features a pleasant lawn garden.

Currently, in order to enter Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens, you must obtain a numbered ticket in advance. To learn more about Kyu-Iwasaki-tei Gardens, including information on how to get tickets, check out the following website!

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