Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Bukeyashiki Street – Kakunodate’s Perfect Spot for History Buffs

Just like its name, the houses where samurai used to reside are lining up on Bukeyashiki Street (武家屋敷通り) in Kakunodate! A couple of these 200-year-old traditional houses are open to the public. Finding the differences in the construction of the houses between the home of top-ranked samurai, middle-ranked samurai, and lower-ranked samurai can be really fun!

The street itself is quite scenic throughout the year. With the cherry blossom blooming in spring, the bright green leaves in summer, the vibrant color in autumn, and the pure white winter scenery, this street attracts a lot of tourists to visit Kakunodate every year (*´ω`).

© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

How to Get to Bukeyashiki Street

As the street is located at least 15 minutes from Kakunodate Station, if you would rather take a bus, you have two options:

  • Semboku City Citizen Bus (市民バス): also known as Smile Bus (スマイルバス), the Nakagawa Line (中川線) departs from Kakunodate Station (角館駅前) around every two hours from 10 am till around 4 pm. It takes around 10 minutes to get to Denshō-kan Iriguchi (伝承館入口) stop.
    • Currently, there is no English timetable available, so please refer back to the Japanese bus stop name when you read the Japanese timetable HERE.
    • Below is the cost for a one-way trip
      • 200 yen for adults
      • 100 yen for elementary and junior high school students)
  • Ugoku Kotsu (羽後交通): the Kakunodate – Lake Tazawa Line (角館・田沢湖線) also stops at Denshō-kan Iriguchi (伝承館入口) stop. This service has a few more services during the day compared to the Citizen Bus.
    • You can refer to the Japanese timetable HERE.
    • It costs 190 yen for a one-way trip.

A List of Samurai Houses on Bukeyashiki Street

Ishiguro Samurai House (武家屋敷 石黒家)

© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

The Ishiguro family was in charge of the financials of the Kakunodate Castle back in the Edo period. Among all the traditional houses that still remain today, it is the oldest house and has the highest design standard in Kakunodate.

The family’s house is also the only traditional house with the original owner’s descendants living there! This is why only half of the property is open to the public.

During the opening hours, there will be staff around the house who can introduce the house’s special features to you. And they can even do it in English (not perfect but understandable)!

In the main wing of the house, armor, ancient documents, and old essential living utensils that have been passed down within the family are displayed throughout the year.

According to the season, Japanese dolls and kimonos may be seen as well!

© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

Ishiguro Samurai House’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The house is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily
  • During the off-season (such as winter), the house might close earlier than 5 pm. So you might want to email the owner [email protected] with your approximate arrival time to avoid disappointment (you can also call them at +81-187-55-1496 if you can speak Japanese)
  • The admission fee is
    • 400 yen for adults
    • 200 yen for elementary and junior high school students
  • The house is located a 25-minute walk away from Kakunodate Station

Aoyagi Samurai House (角館歴史村・青柳家)

© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

When the Japanese talk about the samurai house in Akita Prefecture, they will never fail to mention the Aoyagi Samurai House.

Pass through the front gate, and you will time slip into ancient Japan. With more than 9,000 square meters of land, the residence has been renovated into a small village that aims to reproduce the atmosphere of the time when samurais ruled Japan.

Of course, it would be a bit boring if all you could see were old buildings. But this won’t be the case at Aoyagi Samurai House. As a rare and sought-after privilege, you can hold an authentic samurai sword here (and it is free apart from the small fee you pay at the entrance)!

If touching the sword isn’t exciting enough, you can also put on a samurai helmet. And if you really want to transform yourself into a samurai, remember to bring 4,500 yen, and you can tick off that item on your bucket list.

Other facilities include restaurants, museums, galleries, and a tea room overlooking the well-maintained garden.

For more information about what to do and what exhibits are on, refer to the official English website HERE.

Aoyagi Samurai House’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • The house is open from
    • 9 am to 5 pm from April to October
    • 9 am to 4 pm from November to March
  • The admission fee is
    • 500 yen for adults
    • 300 yen for high school students
    • 200 yen for younger children
  • The house is located a 15 to 20-minute walk away from Kakunodate Station

Matsumoto Samurai House (武家屋敷 松本家)

Contrasting the lavish Aoyagi Samurai House, the Matsumoto Samurai House, which used to be the residence of a lower-ranked samurai, is much more humble.

The good thing is, no entrance fee is required here (^_-)-☆.

© Akita Tourism Federation
© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

From mid-April to mid-October, there is a live demonstration of Itayazaiku (イタヤ細工) in the house (Itayazaiku is craftwork made of thin strips of maple wood)!

Matsumoto Samurai House’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The house is open from 9 am to 4 pm daily from early April to early November
  • No admission fee is payable at Matsumoto Samurai House
  • The house is located a 15 to 20-minute walk away from Kakunodate Station

Iwahashi Samurai House (武家屋敷 岩橋家)

© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

Ranking in between the Aoyagi Samurai House and the Matsumoto Samurai House is the Iwahashi Samurai House.

As you might have already noticed, the life of a middle-class samurai is a lot more comfortable than samurai ranked one rank lower.

The big oak tree on the residence’s ground is said to be around 300 years old. A lot older than all of us (´▽`*).

Entry is again free at Iwahashi Samurai House!

Iwahashi Samurai House’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The house is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily from early April to the end of November
  • No admission fee is payable at Iwahashi Samurai House
  • The house is located a 15-minute walk away from Kakunodate Station

Other Samurai Houses

© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

Other samurai houses that are free to enter in the area are:

  • Kawarada Samurai House (河原田家)
    • Open from 9 am to 5 pm
    • The last admission is at 4:30 pm
    • The admission fee is
      • 300 yen for adults
      • 150 yen for elementary and junior high school students
  • Odano Samurai House (小田野家), open from 9 am to 5 pm from early April to the end of November

Both of the above houses are within a 15-minute walk from Kakunodate Station.

Satoku Garden (さとくガーデン)

In between the Matsumoto Samurai House and the Kawarada Samurai House is a souvenir shop full of traditional crafts, cute miscellaneous goods, and local food products (such as Kiritanpo, a toasted rice stick).

If you purchase more than the threshold amount, your purchase will be tax-free!

It is also a great place to seek travel guidance with free brochures and maps available. And for anyone who loves dogs, the mascot Akita – Bukemaru is there just to welcome you (≧▽≦).

© Lake Tazawa/Kakunodate Tourism Association

Satoku Garden’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • The shop is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily, and when it gets too busy, it will open until 6 pm
  • The shop is located a 15-minute walk away from Kakunodate Station

Other Attractions in Kakunodate

Bukeyashiki Street is only just one part of Kakunodate. To find out what other awesome attractions you can visit in the historic town, check out our article on Kakunodate!

Kakunodatecho-Sight-Seeing-Information-Center-Kakunodate-Akita-Japan
Click the photo to check out more attractions in Kakunodate!

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