Japanese Meiji Period Architecture (1868-1912)

Meiji was a period in which Japan opened her doors to the outside world and laid foundation for Modern Japan by absorbing and assimilating Western culture. Architecture was no exception. In addition to the tradition and accumulation of excellent wooden architecture from the Yedo period (1615-1867), Japanese architecture adopted the styles techniques and materials of Western style stone and brick architecture. And with the progress of the industrial revolution it paved the way to modern architecture of steel, concrete and glass.


House of Ogai Mori & Soseki Natsume (Tokyo, c.1887)

This was one of the typical middle-class town houses in the Hongo district of Tokyo of the Meiji period. It was originally built for Dr. Nakajima, but later Ogai Mori (1862-1922), renowned novelist, poet, critic and army doctor, lived in this house from 1890 to 1892, and then Natsume Sōseki (1867-1916) rented it from 1903 to 1905. ...more

Frank Lloyd Wright's Imperial Hotel (Tokyo, 1923)

The Imperial Hotel in Tokyo was designed by the great American Architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) and completed in 1923. On its opening day, the Great Kantō Earthquake attacked it, but the building was scarcely hurt. It had since been visited by innumerable foreign celebrities and was one of the most renowned hotels in the world. ...more

Gakushūin, Principal's Residence, Peers' School (Tokyo, 1909)

This building was begun in 1909, when General Maresuke Nogi (1849-1912) was the tenth principal of Gakushūin, the school for the Imperial family and the peerage. When it was built, it was the reception hall for the guests, but after Nogi’s death in 1912 it was turned into the official residence of the principal. ...more

Oguma Photo Studio (Nigata, c. 1908)

This two-storied, clapboarded photo studio was built around 1908 in Takada (present Johetsu City), Nigata Prefecture. Takada is well-known for its heavy snow and is said to have been the cradle of skiing in Japan. ...more

Telephone Exchange (Sapporo, 1898)

The Telephone Exchange in Sapporo, Hokkaido, was built in 1898 and until recently has been used as a part of Sapporo Central Post Office. It was built entirely of stone quarried from neighboring Jozankei. The survival of a stone building of this type is extremely rare in Japan, because of frequent and violent earthquakes. ...more

The Villa of Mataemon Shibakawa (Nishinomiya, 1911)

The villa of Mataemon Shibakawa was planned by the well-known architect, Goichi Takeda (1872-1938), in the early 20th century and completed in 1911. Mataemon Shibakawa (1853-1938) owned a major trading company in Osaka. He built a fruit orchard in an area between Osaka and Kobe and named it Koto-en. This villa was built as a country house within Koto-en. ...more

Ohi Butcher Shop (Kobe, c. 1887)

Ohi Butcher Shop, Motomachi, Kobe, was opened around 1887 by Inosuke Kishida, who supplied beef to the foreign vessels staying at the port. It also housed a Sukiyaki restaurant, which had been very popular until 1966, when the shop was dismantled because of the new underground railway work. The shop was rebuilt in the Meiji-Mura in 1968. ...more

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