Nestled in Sanda City’s quiet Yashiki district, the Former Kuki Family Residence was built around 1875, and today stands as one of the few remaining examples of quasi-Western architecture in Japan. In 1998 it was designated as an Important Tangible Cultural Property of Hyogo Prefecture. Quasi-Western architecture is a blend of Japanese and Western design that arose with Japan’s late 19 th century modernization as Japanese carpenters sought to incorporate Western design in buildings.
The first floor of this two-story building is in Japanese style with walls made of wood and plaster, and shoji doors of lattice and paper or wood board.
Inside, everyday life is easy to imagine as an old TV, furniture, a telephone, and other vintage articles are displayed.
Get a taste of the old ways in the kitchen
The second floor is usually closed, but seven times a year it is open to the public. When viewed from outside, a Western sense of design is plain to see through the use of columns and handrails as well as the balcony that extends across half the building.
A Western-style room occupies half of the second floor, but the interior is a unique mix of Japanese and Western
styles, with tatami mat floors and Japanese fusuma paper instead of wallpaper on the walls and ceiling.
Japanese-style storeroom on the 2nd floor
This Former Kuki Family Residence was built by Ryuhan Kuki (1835-1908), the head of the Kuki family at the time, who worked as a railway construction engineer. Ryuhan was one of the key engineers, who learned on the job from foreign engineers and played a substantial role in the development of railway construction in modern Japan. Ryuhan himself adopted Western-style design and the blueprints made by himself for the house still exist. Coming into contact with British railway technology and seeing many examples of Western architecture in Tokyo, Yokohama, and Kobe, his “affection for the West” likely influenced the design of his own mansion.
In the Former Kuki Family Residence Museum, drafting tools and rulers Ryuhan used for his work are displayed, as well as the paints and plates for the blueprints.
Take a stroll around the Former Kuki Family Residence Museum and learn about the history of Sanda at the Furusato Learning Center, or check out the ruins of Sanda Castle as well as other historical sites, temples, and shrines.
Address: 7-35 Yashiki-machi, Sanda City
Access: 10-minute walk from JR/Kobe Electric Railway Sanda Station
Opening hours: 10:00-16:00
Opening days: Saturdays, Sundays, national holidays, seasonal opening
Closed: Monday (following day if Monday is a national holiday)
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