19th Century Mori Residence and Shipping Agency 北前船廻船問屋 森屋
A window into 19th-century Japan
History buffs and nautical enthusiasts should make time to visit this historic residence, recognized as an Important Cultural Property in 1994.
- The building exterior, a well-preserved specimen of historic Japanese architecture
- Museum exhibits featuring finely detailed models of classic ships
- A chance to wander the historical Iwase district
How to Get There
Reach the residence from JR Toyama Station. Take the Toyama Light Rail from Toyamaeki-kita (North Gate of Toyama Station on the JR Hokuriku Main Line) to Higashi-Iwase; the journey will take about 25 minutes. The residence is a 10-minute walk from here.
Between two eras
Among many key changes that occurred during the Meiji Restoration (1868-90), Japan's merchant class gained equality with other classes and continued their rise to prominence. As a coastal town, Toyama was a natural place for shipping agencies to prosper. You can see signs of this prosperity in the Mori Residence, an Edo-period home retooled for a new era.
The building itself will appeal to anyone with an interest in architecture or construction, from the decorative inlays in the doors to the sturdy beams overhead. Finely crafted models of kitamaebune (“northern-bound ships”) on display retain a pleasing pre-industrial feel, which would fade as Japan approached the 20th century. It's another example of how the era straddled the still-feudal Edo period and the approaching modern age.
A day in the life
Much like the old samurai residences in Kanazawa , the Mori Residence gives you a tangible sense of daily life in one segment of Japanese society. It's a relaxing browse through cultural history.