SpotThe Old Honma Mansion

Speaking of Sakata, one can not but mention the Honma clan. The Honma clan that created vast riches in Sakata was once said to be the largest landowner in Japan and applied their talents and energy to public works and water projects as well as to business. The Old Honma Mansion was built for the lord Sakai, by Mitsuoka, the third lord of the Honma clan in 1768. It is a unique building encompassing two different styles: the front part is in a warrior-residence structure for high ranking retainers and the back part is constructed in a merchant-house style. The front part is a luxurious building made from Kiso hinoki cypress and using Hida-Takayama Shunkei lacquerware. The ceiling is high but the door headers are low ? to forestall the wielding of swords. Transoms above sliding doors were transparent so as to prevent secret meetings. As the class system was strict in the Edo period, the family lived in the back part as befit merchants. A kitchen was earthen floored in normal merchant houses in those days but the Honma family was allowed to have a wooden floor kitchen. Even though it was a merchant family, the Homma family were allowed some of the same privileges of the warrior class because of their various and impressive achievements. In Sakata, fires often occurred due to strong winds. As a fire prevention measure, two-story storehouses were built in the north and west of the precincts to protect the one-story main building from fire and many tabunoki trees, whose wood retains moisture, were planted.

The Old Honma Mansion



From JR Sakata Station: 5 min to bus stop "Honmachi-Shoginmae" by bus, and 4 min on foot to the site


12-13 Nibancho, Sakata-shi, Yamagata





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