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“Unusual find in Tokyo”

Kyu Iwasaki-tei Teien
Ranked #17 of 474 things to do in Taito
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 14 November 2016

While this house might not be so interesting for those used to Jacobean and Victorian architecture, it's an unusual house to find in Tokyo. Formerly the mansion of the Mitsubishi family, the attractive house with porches sits on a large block of land near Ueno Park. One of the most interesting parts is the free-standing billiards room, built like a Swiss Chalet. The main house leads directly into a traditional Japanese house, which is quite surprising. Be aware that you need to take off your shoes to tour the houses and you can't take photos inside. There are some coin lockers at the ticket office for storing large bags and tickets are reasonable. The Japanese house has a small tea room with snacks. You can also bring your own food and drinks to enjoy at tables in the gardens.

Thank Kirsty M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (254)
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"western style"
in 6 reviews
"billiard room"
in 5 reviews
"british architect"
in 4 reviews
"japanese house"
in 5 reviews
"swiss chalet"
in 3 reviews
"ticket office"
in 2 reviews
"meiji period"
in 2 reviews
"ueno park"
in 4 reviews
"mansion"
in 3 reviews
"josiah"
in 6 reviews
"condor"
in 6 reviews
"billiards"
in 5 reviews
"jacobean"
in 3 reviews
"founded"
in 6 reviews
"architecture"
in 8 reviews
"shoes"
in 4 reviews
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8 - 12 of 254 reviews

Reviewed 2 August 2016 via mobile

The estate was built in 1896 by one of the early leaders of the Mitsubishi company. While only about 1/3 of its original size, the estate is interesting to visit from an architectural perspective because there are 3 distinct building styles right next to each other. And while there is virtually no furniture in any of the homes, one can imagine activities that took place there. There was not any tour but there was a short video that could be played in English after getting some assistance from the docent to make the selection. The rooms had some English description to explain main architectural features but overall was a little limited. What was amazing was seeing the pure size of the place and then comparing it to the Japanese residence attached to it, and then comparing both to the tenement homes displayed in the Shitamachi museum. Cost to enter was 400¥ and we spent just under 2 hours there. Entrance was a little difficult to find because it's on a small street off the main road. Not recommended for small children but was a good place to learn a little more about Japan's history.

Thank Mumslie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
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Reviewed 24 April 2016 via mobile

It's a very pleasant visit and it gives an interesting glimpse on how very rich families were living during the Meiji era. The architecture has lots of international influence, European and middle eastern, while keeping a Japanese side to it. The wall papers made of leather are quite unique too. Events are often organized in the garden.

Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 October 2015

Being a resident of Tokyo for over a decade, I have been caught up in the fast pace of city life. So, I have decided to slow down, take in & share my views of the beautiful history, culture, customs, food & nature this concrete jungle has to offer.
If you expect to see a beautiful landscaped garden like Hama-rikyu, Rikugien, Koishikawa, etc.,then don't waste your time going to Kyu Iwasaki-tei Teien because it is NOT a garden. It is the unfurnished mansion/manor of the Iwasaki family who founded the Mitsubishi Group of companies.
To get a glimpse into how the upper strata lived during the Meiji period one can take a tour for ¥400 of the western style mansion built by English architect Josiah Conder, the classic Japanese style residence attached to it and the Billiard house adjacent to the mansion. They are all made of wood. It is an architectural master piece with an interesting contrast between the opulent western style & the minimalist Japanese style. The billiard house is built to resemble a Swiss chalet. A small space in the mansion sells souvenirs & you can sip on some green tea in the Japanese residence. Photography inside the mansion is prohibited.
By now, if you have traveled around Japan, I'm sure you are accustomed to taking off your shoes because before entering the mansion, you have to take off your shoes & carry them in a plastic bag that is provided. Make sure you are wearing socks with no holes, just to save yourself from embarrassment. If you happen to visit during the winters, please carry an extra pair of warm socks because the floors, though carpeted, could be a little cold.
As a local resident, I thoroughly enjoyed my stroll through this property but I guess tourists & visitors with a hectic itinerary, restricted timings or budgetary constraints, would think otherwise.
Praemonitus Praemunitus or Forewarned is Forearmed ! So, if you are interested in architecture, history or happen to have the time or be in the vicinity, then visit Kyu Iwasaki-tei. By the way, a famous shrine for scholars called Yushima Tenjin is just a stones throw away from here.

3  Thank tabibito007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 20 June 2015

This is a somewhat interesting stop in that you can see the architectural manifestation of the struggle between Japan's desire to keep her proud culture and to also connect with the West in the second half of the 19th century. The building is a pretty common one for a wealthy merchant of the times - it is remarkable in that is was built in Japan at that time. It's also interestingly juxtaposed with the more traditional Japanese living quarters where the family lived.

Thank RonFritz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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