Relive The Past! 5 Recommended Architectural Masterpieces to Visit in Fukuoka
Fukuoka, a place with many architectural masterpieces, has been called the the gateway to Japan since ancient times. It has been a place where many interactions with foreign countries have occurred. Here is some retro architecture that was inspired and influenced by the West from the 19th to the 20th centuries.
1. Former Moji Mitsui Club
Built by Japan's very first trading conglomerate, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., as a guesthouse and social club, this 2-story building was constructed using the traditional European half-timber method. Each room is equipped with a mantelpiece, and the beautiful Art Deco interior gives it a very modern feel. This building is famous for housing world-renowned physicist Albert Einstein during his 1922 visit to Japan. The room that Einstein stayed in has been renamed the Einstein Memorial Room, and has retained its condition since Einstein's visit. Why don't you check this place out?
2. Fukuoka City Museum of Literature
This building, designed by famous architect Kingo Tatsuno, was used as an office for the Kyushu branch of Nippon Life Insurance Company. Currently used as the city's Museum of Literature, this building is home to literary works concerning Fukuoka, and exhibitions are held here every once in a while. The red brick and white granite exterior, as well as the dome-shaped copper roof seem to have its influences from the British Queen Anne style that was popular in the late 19th century. You should also check out the tasteful Art Nouveau interior design. From the beautiful curvature of the stairway railings and beams to the lighting that is fitting of the room interior, you shouldn't miss viewing this splendid architectural masterpiece.
3. Former Osaka Shosen
The special characteristics of this building are its octagonal spires and the contrast of its orange and white belt-like tiles. This building stands in Moji Port, a major port for continental trade in the later half of the 19th century. The Secession-style architecture of the Former Osaka Shosen has earned it a reputation of being a port of beauty. Once used as a waiting room for passengers boarding continental routes, the first floor is now home to Kitakyushu-born manga artist Watase Seizo's art gallery, as well as Mojiko Design House, a store displaying and selling artwork of local artists. The special exhibit room on the second floor displays items from the Idemitsu Museum of Art. Why don't you come here and experience for yourself the hopes and dreams of the people of the past, during a time when traveling abroad was not as convenient as now?
4. Old Kurauchi Residence
This majestic Japanese residence belonged to Jirosaku Kurauchi, an owner of a coal mine in the Chikuho region of Fukuoka, who became rich with the growth of Japan's modern industries. Constructed on approximately 7,200 square meters of land in the early 20th century, this house has a total floor area of 1,250 square meters. You should take a look at the intricate interior of this house, where great pains were taken to ensure the carvings on the ranma (a wooden panel with openwork carving used as a decorative transom above paper sliding doors), sliding door handles, and the light fixtures, were accurate down to the last detail. You should also pay some attention to the marble, tiling, and the kinkarakawashi wallpaper, made by modeling Western decorative leather craft work on handmade Japanese paper. The garden, which can be seen from many different spots in this residence, is so beautiful that you will be lost for words and forget how much time has passed!
Quietly nestled in a corner of Tenjin Central Park, Kihinkan was completed in 1910 and served as a guest house for the 13th Kyushu and Okinawa Product Exhibition. With its French Renaissance style of the Meiji Era, this wooden structure has been classified as an important cultural property. From the exterior with its central porch, octagonal spire, and balconies, to the interior design, furnishings, reliefs and tiles, this place has so much to visually offer! Recommended for travelers who wish to spend a lovely time in a luxurious place.
Although these 5 buildings were all built in approximately the same era, each and every one of them has its own distinct architectural style. If you take a look and compare the architectural styles of these buildings, you might find your walks around town to be much more interesting!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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