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Seisonkaku Villa 成巽閣

Large, luxurious villa marries traditional Japanese design with Western touches

Seisonkaku is a large villa on the edge of Kenrokuen Garden. It was built in 1863 by the 13th lord of the Kaga domain(present-day Ishikawa and around) for his mother in her retirement.

The villa’s architectural style blends traditional Japanese elements with Western touches that were coming into fashion at the end of the Edo period (1603–1867). Examples of period artisanship include colorful openwork carvings, painted screens, American-made chandeliers, and Dutch painted glass. Some sliding shoji panels, traditionally papered, are inset with glass, allowing the residents to view the snow in the garden without letting cold air inside. Walls and ceilings painted in bright colors or decorated with cedar wickerwork adorn the upstairs rooms. Some rooms are named for their painted animal motifs, like the Tortoise Room and the Butterfly Room.

Seisonkaku is built around two small gardens. The villa was designed so that the sound of running water can be heard in the bedroom, soothing the residents as they slept.

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