The former residence of the Nomura family (野村家) is located in Nagamachi, the bukeyashiki or samurai quarter of Kanazawa, a quiet district characterised by its long straight mud-daub walls topped with traditional wooden slats called kobaita (小羽 板) and covered with straw mats (こも komo) in winter.


The Nomura were chief retainers of the Maeda. Maeda Toshiie (前田 利家, 1538-1599), the first daimyō of Kaga Domain, bestowed a fief of one thousand koku upon Nomura Denbei Nobusada (野村伝兵衛信貞) which was later increased to 1,200 koku. Nobusada's descendants continued to serve as senior retainers and received 1,000 tsubo (one tsubo corresponds to roughly 3.3 square metres) each. With the abolition of the old feudal system after the Meiji Restoration samurai lost their privileges and had to surrender most of their land.


In the 1920s, a local merchant by the name of Kubo Hikobei acquired the last piece of the Nomura property. Hikobei had a shipping company in Hashidate (nowadays part of Kaga in southern Ishikawa Prefecture) that used kitamaebune ("northern-bound ships") to trade with Hokkaidō. He restored the former samurai mansion and added furniture and artwork, including the entire drawing-room now on display from his native village.


The ō-yoroi (大鎧) worn by Nomura Denbei Nobusaga during the Siege of Suemori (末森の戦い Suemori no Tatakai) in 1584, in which Maeda Toshiie supported Toyotomi Hideyoshi against his former ally Sassa Narimasa. By defeating Narimasa, Toshiie became the most powerful daimyō in Kaga.


The sliding doors were decorated by Sasaki Senkei (佐々木 泉景, 1743-1848), a celebrated painter of the Kano School.


A washitsu (和室, "Japanese-style room') with shōji (障子), tatami (畳) and tokonoma (床の間).


Delicate carved wooden transoms (欄間 ranma) made of persimmon wood above the sliding doors with open spaces that allow air to flow into the room even when the doors are closed.


Jyōdan-no-ma (上段の間), the drawing-room with elaborate designs made of cypress, rosewood and ebony.


The garden was beautifully designed in the style of master horticulturist Kobori Enshū (小堀 遠州, 1579-1647) but not by the master himself. In 2003, the Journal of Japanese Gardening listed it as one of the top three gardens of Japan.


The garden has an exquisite waterfall, numerous stone lanterns of various types, a limpid winding stream, a bridge made of cherry granite and a myrica (wax myrtle) tree said to be over 400 years old.


Other rooms exhibit the sword collection of the Nomura family: wakizashi (脇差) and katana (刀) as well as a daishō (大小), a wakizashi-katana set. Up the stone stairs on the second floor is the Fubakuan, a tea room with a stunning view over the garden.

Address: 1-3-32 Naga-machi, 920-0865 Kanazawa; phone: 221-3553, fax: 263-6531.

Access: a 5-minute walk from Korinbo (香林坊) bus stop.

Opening Hours: 08:30-17:30 (April-September, last entry 17:00), 08:30-16:30 (October-March, last entry 16:00); closed 26 and 27 December.

Admission: 550 JPY (adults), 400 JPY (high school students), 250 JPY (elementary and junior high school students)