The Nozaki Residence in Kojima used to belong to a powerful Edo Era Merchant. It has remained intact and true to its original form since it was built in 1827, and provides an interesting glimpse into what life was like for some of the wealthiest people in Japan back then.
If you want an insight into how to richest people in Japan used to live back in the Edo era, a visit to the former Nozaki Residence comes highly recommended. This magnificent residence, more than 3,300 square meters of floor space, is one of the few remaining of its kind in all of Japan.
The entire property covers more than 9900 square meters, and apart from the residential buildings, it also includes several storehouses or “dozo-gun”, a tea pavilion and a magnificent garden, all of which have been delicately preserved up until this day.
Buzaemon Nozaki, the man behind this impressive property, gained his wealth by developing the salt fields facing the nearby Seto Inland Sea, and was often referred to as “The King of Salt Lords”. One of storehouses has today been turned into an exhibition hall that is devoted to the history of salt production, showcasing interesting models and some of the equipment used in this process, from the Edo Era up until today. There are also some examples of interesting salt rocks on display.
Another storehouse is dedicated to an exhibition of old antiques, as well as showing examples of what family life was like for a wealthy family during this period. Some of the spaces are truly impressive, such as the interconnected tatami rooms, 42 meters in length.
The garden surrounding the buildings also deserves a mention, as it is meticulously maintained, and is a prime example of traditional Japanese gardening skills. The teahouses that are located throughout the grounds gives you a hint of the wealth and affluence of the family that used to live here. The residence was declared an “important prefectural historical site” back in 1977.
As an interesting aside, it might be worth mentioning that a stretch of the coastline just outside Kurashiki City, on which used to be the grounds where some of Nozaki’s salt farms were located, was turned into one of the biggest solar power plants in the region in July 2017.
The Nozaki House is open every day except Mondays from 9:00am to 5:00pm, with last admittance at 4:30pm. The entrance fee is 500 yen, and it is located next to Kojima Denim street, in turn served by buses from JR Kojima station.