The Tojo-tei House was the first itinerary for Chiba-kun Ambassadors second Prefectural Tour. This house is located a Matsudo City and this is not your ordinary house. This is a very historical house, which is nationally designated as an intangible cultural property of Japan. Why? Because it housed Tokugawa Akitake! The last shogun of the Edo Period in Japan.
So, what is a Shogun? And who is Tokugawa Akitake? Some of you might have an idea on what the Tokugawa Shogunate is, but to those who do not know, the shogun acts like the ruling family or like a ‘president’ for a given period, and the Tokugawa family was one of those who ruled Japan before. Tokugawa Akitake was the last of them. He was supposed to be the successor but upon coming back from Paris, a change in the government of Japan occurred which led him to not being one.
So, that’s a brief background. As an architecture program graduate, it may seem natural for me to love structures and buildings, and yes, I love Japanese architecture. Especially the preserved, traditional, and authentic ones.
The guide told us that the Tokugawa family had lots of houses, but due to land and other developments, some of them got devastated. So, to protect the remaining one, a bill was passed to make this a national cultural property.
This mansion/house was so big and really filled with lots of rooms! Corridors and some pathways were narrow, which made the house look a little bit like a maze. Nevertheless, being able to witness this cultural treasure was really an honor.
The house was simple as the Tokugawa tried to design it in the simplest ways where minimalism is really evident. Except for the toilet! The toilet was spacious! The guide told us that since it was a private place, no one could ever see it much, so they, the Tokugawas, made it that way.
The landscape was so Japanese. (Well, duh, of course!) But one of the great things I learned was, they always try to make the windows face where Mount Fuji.
If you really want to know more about this place, you should really try to visit it! Every room has this panel(?) where QR codes could be scanned. This then will be explained by the language of your choice. So, it really is very convenient for tourists.
Within the vicinity is also a museum where you could see preserved stuff used by the Tokugawa family, even photos taken by the Tokugawa brothers themselves.
This house is located 10min away from Matsudo station of the JR Line.
More from their website: http://www.city.matsudo.chiba.jp/tojo/index.html