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The Maeda House - another piece of England in Tokyo
In January 2020, I discovered the Maeda House thanks to Google Maps. While checking places in Meguro ward, I spotted it in Komaba Park. The actual name was “Former Marquis Maeda Western Style Mansion.” It looked interesting, so I went for a closer look.
The pictures that popped up were of a very English-looking mansion of Tudor style. I’d never seen nor heard of it. It was intriguing. After some quick research, I went the following day!
As you might have guessed, the house was home to the Maeda family. They were one of the most influential families during the Edo period. Its leader, Toshinari, was a member of the aristocracy and a military man who had served in England. He constructed it in 1929.
With his enormous resources, he built a multi-storied and luxurious house. It has many rooms, even for the staff. Toshinari often entertained his colleagues, so I imagine it was a hive of activity.
The grounds, what remain, are pretty large. They should be lovely in spring when the cherry blossoms bloom. And next to the main building is a Japanese-style house which was for tea ceremonies. Both have undergone restoration projects over the years. Luckily, much of the original workmanship remains.
There is a tour of the main building. It takes about forty minutes, but it is only in Japanese. You can also walk around by yourself and take pictures, so don’t worry. Be aware you need to take your shoes off and carry them in the plastic bag provided.
That first visit was more of a reconnaissance mission. I wanted to check the house out and get a feel for it. It was very impressive. The building reminded me of Kyu-Furukawa and Kyu-Iwasaki Gardens. Talk about the best of British!
Are you wondering why I photographed the Maeda House in black and white? Well, the building is a subject of architecture. And for that, I needed to strip away the color, which can be distracting. That was necessary because the interior can be very bright in places.
If you like architectural photography or Japanese history, this building is excellent. For that 2020 visit, I only photographed some areas of the main house. You can also see it in color here. One day, I hope to photograph its cherry blossoms.
Where is the Maeda House in Tokyo?
Komaba Park is about a ten-minute walk from Komaba-Todaimae Station on the Keio-Inokashira line. Click here to see it on Google Maps.
Maeda House is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (with the last entry at 4 p.m.). It is closed on Mondays and from December 29 to January 3. If a holiday falls on Monday, it will open and close the following day.