Jonai Suwakoji samurai houses
Live like a samurai in the Edo Period stronghold town of Kanegasaki
Kanegasaki town,Iwate prefecture
The Jonai Suwakoji district of Kanegasaki in Iwate, sits frozen in time, its Edo-Period (1603-1868) residences once the homes of samurai.
Kanegasaki stronghold, in what was Nishine village, was one of 21 castles ruled by Date Masamune (1567-1636), the founder of Sendai and once the most powerful daimyo (feudal lord) of the Tohoku region. Though nothing of the castle remains, the nearby homes of samurai and others still exist in the Jonai Suwakoji conservation area. Many of these structures retain original Edo architectural features, with a few even featuring thatched roofs.
Before taking a stroll around the historic neighborhood, visit the Kamishimo Resting Place, a restaurant and local produce store that also offers a kimono experience. Choose from a selection of kimono styles and enjoy the town dressed as Edo Period residents once did.
Stop by the former Sakamoto family samurai residence for a matcha tea ceremony with seasonal Japanese sweets, and take a calligraphy lesson within the thatched buildings of what was the Onuma family samurai home. Each activity, the pastimes of samurai, takes just 20 or 30 minutes, leaving you plenty of time to explore the town’s two samurai residence restaurants and the Kanegasaki Stronghold History Museum.
How to get there
26 minutes by train from Iwate Hanamaki Airport or 20 minutes by taxi from Mizusawa Esashi Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen line. Alternatively, 5 minutes by car from the Mizusawa Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway.