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10 retro sightseeing spots with a sense of Meiji and Taisho Romance

10 retro sightseeing spots with a sense of Meiji and Taisho Romance


There are many historical buildings in Japan with a retro feel from the Meiji and Taisho periods. The buildings from the period when Western culture flourished and modernization progressed have an atmosphere different from that of modern buildings. Why not experience the romance of the Meiji and Taisho eras in these retro-inspired buildings that have been preserved by human hands?

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Sapporo Clock Tower

The "Sapporo Clock Tower ", a famous tourist attraction in Sapporo, was built in 1878. Now known as "Clock Tower ", its official name is "Former Sapporo Agricultural College Demonstration Hall ". It was built under the direction of Dr. Clark, the first vice principal of Sapporo Agricultural College.
"Inside the Sapporo Clock Tower "is a museum where you can learn about the history of the clock tower. The auditorium on the second floor of the clock tower can be rented out. It is recommended for those who want to have a different kind of wedding ceremony, as it can be used not only for music concerts and lectures, but also for weddings. "Sapporo Clock Tower "is a wooden structure built in the Meiji era (1868-1912), but it still watches over the city of Sapporo as it was when it was first built.

Location: Kita 1-jo Nishi 2-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Price: Adults 200yen / Students under high school age are not required to pay.

Koiwai Farm

"Koiwai Farm "was established in 1894, and was originally built on an empty wilderness. Today, the farm is open to the public and continues to operate primary industries such as dairy farming and forestry. "Inside the Koiwai Farm ", there are 21 historical buildings that preserve the agricultural and livestock industry of that time, such as cowsheds and natural refrigerators built in the Meiji era. At the museum attached to the farm, visitors can learn about the history of modern agriculture and "how Koiwai Farm "was established.
After learning about the history, go see the single cherry tree at Koiwai Farm. The cherry tree standing in the wide green land was planted about 100 years ago in the 40s of Meiji era. It is nice to think about our predecessors while gazing at the cherry tree and Mount Iwate.

Location: 36-1 Maruyachi, Shizukuishi-machi, Iwate-gun, Iwate
Admission: Adults (junior high school students and older) 1,000 yen / Children (elementary school students and younger) free

Old Kai Chi School

"The Old Kaichi School "is the site of an elementary school built in 1876. It is now a museum, but was used as an elementary school building until about 60 years ago. When it was first built, it is said that there were more than 30 classrooms in addition to the existing school building. "It was such a large school that it is said to be the largest and most beautiful in Japan ".
The school is built in a Western style, but the Japanese-style tiled roof gives it a retro feel. The school is open for tours, so you can see classrooms from the Meiji era and actual teaching materials used in the school. Currently, the school is under renovation and cannot be seen, but you can see the exhibits at "Old Kaichi School "and across the street at "Old Priest Hall ". "The old priory "is also worth a visit because of its cute pastel blue retro appearance.

Location: 2-4-12 Kaichi, Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture
Admission: Adults (high school students and older) 400 yen / Children (junior high school students and younger) 200 yen

Former Iwasaki Residence

"The former Iwasaki Residence "was built in 1894 as the residence of Hisaya Iwasaki, the third president of Mitsubishi. At the time, there were as many as 20 buildings on the site, but today only three remain: the Western-style building, the Japanese-style building, and the billiard hall, all on one third of the site.
The soft ivory-colored Western-style building has an atmosphere reminiscent of Europe, but with a Japanese beauty in its detailed decoration. Next to the Western-style building is a combined Japanese-style building, where you can see a beautiful garden that blends the Japanese and Western styles. A tea ceremony table is set up in the area where you can see the garden, so after visiting the Western-style building and the Japanese-style building, you can enjoy a relaxing cup of tea while admiring the beautiful lawn garden.

Location: 1 Ikenohata, Taito-ku, Tokyo
Admission: Adults 400 yen / 65 years old and over 200 yen / Elementary school students and under free

Red Brick Warehouse

One of Yokohama's famous tourist attractions "is the Red Brick Warehouse ". Building No. 2 was built in 1911 and Building No. 1 in 1913 as a national bonded warehouse. The later No. 1 building was Japan's first state-of-the-art warehouse equipped with cargo elevators and sprinklers. After that, it was used as a port base for the U.S. military after the war, but after the confiscation ended, it was used as an active warehouse until 1989.
Although it is now a tourist attraction with fashionable cafes and general stores, the building itself retains the shape it had when it was first built. Please pay attention not only to the stores inside, but also to the exterior of the "red brick warehouse "that supported the development of modern Japan.

Location: 1-1 Shinko, Naka-ku, Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture
Fee: Free of charge

Kitano Ijinkan-gai

"Kitano Ijinkan-gai "was built in the Meiji era (1868-1912) as a residential area for foreigners who came to Japan when the port was first opened. At its peak, there were about 200 buildings in the area, but due to air raids during World War II and damage from the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake, only 16 buildings remain today.
As you walk up the hill from Sannomiya, the center of Kobe, you will see more and more pastel-colored houses with bay windows and brick buildings. While enjoying the exotic scenery, if there is an Ijinkan that interests you, go inside and take a tour. Some of the furniture used in those days are still there, making you feel like you are traveling abroad. From "Weathercock House "at the top of Kitanozaka, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Kobe and Osaka Bay.

Location: Kitano-machi, Chuo-ku, Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture
Fee: Free - 1,050 yen (varies by facility)

Former Nara Prison

"The Former Nara Prison "is a prison built in 1909 and incorporates Western culture. "The former Nara Prison "is made of red bricks and was built by the prisoners and red brick masons who were imprisoned at the time. The symmetrical construction and arched windows give it a Western-style appearance.
After that, it was used as a prison for 108 years until 2017, when it was registered as an important cultural property and closed due to the aging of the building. Currently, Hoshino Resort is renovating the building, and a hotel is scheduled to open in 2024 "utilizing the building of the former Nara Prison "as it was in 2024.

Location: 18, Bonjo-ji-machi, Nara-shi, Nara-ken

Dogo Onsen Main Building

"Dogo Onsen "appears in "the Chronicles of Japan "and is said to be the oldest hot spring in Japan. "Dogo Onsen Honkan "is a wooden structure built in 1894. It was built by the first mayor of Dogo-Yunomachi Onsen with the aim of ensuring the prosperity of Dogo 100 years later. The purely Japanese style of the building, which has not been swept away by the waves of Western culture, shows the desire for the building to be loved by the local people as a public bathhouse for a long time.
"Dogo Onsen Honkan "has two bathhouses, "Kami-no-yu "and "Rei-no-yu ". The stone bathhouses have a retro atmosphere. The building "and Shinden "have been preserved as a museum, and you can see the gorgeous rooms where successive generations of the imperial family have come to enter. "At Shinden ", you can also visit a wooden bath built in the Meiji era. Soak in the hot water of Dogo and slowly feel the passage of time.

Location:5-6, Michigoyu-no-machi, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime
Fee: Adults (12 years and older) 420 yen / Children 160 yen

Jukwa Hot Spring

"Takegawara Onsen "was built in 1879 and is still loved by Beppu citizens as a public bathhouse. After passing through the drinking district and passing through narrow alleys, "Takegawara Onsen "suddenly appears, and you will feel as if you have time-traveled back to the Meiji era. Inside, the building still looks old, but the brown floors have been polished and cleaned. The hall leading from the entrance to the bathhouse is equipped with a rest area, so you can relax and enjoy the atmosphere of "Takegawara Onsen "after taking a bath.
Upon entering the bathroom, you will find a large stone bathtub in the center, surrounded by a washing area equipped only with a faucet with hot and cold water. The retro-style hot spring baths, where you can join the local regulars, are sure to give you an extraordinary feeling of being in the middle of nowhere.

Location: 16-23 Moto-machi, Beppu City, Oita Prefecture
Fee: Adults 300 yen / Children 100 yen

Glover Garden

"Glover Garden "has nine historical buildings, three of which were built as a foreign settlement between the end of the Edo period and the first year of the Meiji period (1868-1912). The spacious park is not only filled with retro Western-style buildings, but also with beautiful plantings that give visitors the feeling of being in Europe. "The oldest building in Glover Garden "is "Glover House ", which was built soon after the opening of Japan to the outside world. The spacious one-story exterior gives it a different feel from other residences. You can also visit the inside of the house to see how people lived in the late Edo period and early Meiji period.
Not only that, you can take pictures in the park wearing a retro dress full of Taisho-romance. Enjoy the exotic atmosphere as much as you like.

Location: 8-1 Minamiyamate-cho, Nagasaki City, Nagasaki Prefecture
Fees: Adults 620 yen / High school students 310 yen / Elementary and junior high school students 180 yen


We have introduced 10 historical buildings with a retro atmosphere from all over Japan, valuable structures that were built more than 100 years ago and have been carefully preserved through wars and natural disasters to the present day. Different from Japanese Japanese-style buildings and also different from Western buildings, the fusion of Japanese and Western styles gives you a sense of the romance of the Meiji and Taisho eras. Why not visit once to enjoy the nostalgic atmosphere?

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