Kanzo Yashiki

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Built in the early nineteenth century, this mansion once belonged to the wealthy Takano family. Kanzo Yashiki means Licorice Mansion, and Chinese licorice was central to the Takano family fortune. Often used as a sweetener, and from the Edo period (1603-1868) a key ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine, the licorice grown here was supplied directly to the central government. The small licorice field on the south side of the house is thought to be the oldest licorice crop in Japan.

Stepping into Kanzo Yashiki is like going back in time to the Edo period. The mansion is well preserved and can be explored in exchange for a small maintenance fee. The original thatched roof has been replaced with copper tiles, but the distinctive double-layered raised section in the middle of the south side of the gabled roof remains. This type of raised roof inside a gabled roof is characteristic of houses in the Koshu region. Inside is an entrance room with an earthen floor beside a large main room featuring tatami mats and a traditional wood-fired hearth (irori). A single central wooden pillar supports the entire house, as is also typical of mansions in the area.

The second floor was previously used for raising silkworms, once a major industry in Yamanashi and surrounding areas including Nagano and Gunma. Today, it features a range of crockery and other everyday household items from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In autumn, drying orange persimmons are strung up on cords at the front of the house, another old-fashioned pastime in the Yamanashi region. Kanzo Yashiki is the main venue for the Hina Doll Decoration and Peach Blossom Festival between February and April every year, with colorful displays of traditional dolls inside.

The site around the mansion is maintained as a historical park that also includes other period buildings, one of which serves as a children’s library and a warehouse for documents and books.


Venue Address

404-0042 1651-15 Enzan Kamiozo, Koshu-shi

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