A small part of the old castle town of Hirosaki is preserved as a former samurai district. Three samurai houses and one house of a merchant are open to the public.
Ito, Umeda, and Iwata residences - all three were samurai families
Ishiba Residence was a merchant family home
The Nakacho Buke-Yashiki are in the Hirosaki Castle town area in the heart of Hirosaki City.
You can easily walk to the Nakacho area from Hirosaki Castle. You can also go there directly from Hirosaki Castle by bus. The closest bus stop is Bunka Center-mae. Another bus line, the Tamenobu Loop Bus, goes even closer to the Neputa Mura next to the samurai district. However, the line does not operate during the winter.
The three samurai residences - Ito, Umeda, and Iwata families - are all free of charge to visit. You can not only see their exterior, but can take off your shoes and see the insides.
The homes are very simple and unadorned. The Ito residence is slightly larger and is slightly more well appointed than the other two. The doctor of the Tsugaru feudal lord lived in the Ito residence.
The Ishiba residence was owned by a family who was part of the merchant class that sold household goods and straw. The residence is still used today, as a shop and home. There is a 100 yen admission fee to see the inside of the residence. Inside, you will see that the merchant class lived with a few more amenities than the average samurai.
Take a short walk around the rest of the district and you will find other former samurai residences. These are not open to the public, but it will help you to imagine what it was like to live as a samurai during the Edo Period.