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Writer:Yuta Sakaguchi

Hi, I’m Yuta. I grew up and live in Yokohama, a port city of Kanagawa prefecture near Tokyo. I once lived in Kichijoji, located in the western part of Tokyo. I love walking around a street and taking pictures. On my article I introduce attractions mainly of Tokyo and Yokohama with many wonderful pictures. Please enjoy them!

The Osaragi Jiro Memorial Museum: Cat art and Japanese design elements in a western style house

May 13, 2016

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The appearance of the Osaragi Jiro Memorial Museum

The Osaragi Jiro Memorial Museum, located in Minatonomieruoka Park of Yamate, Yokohama, is dedicated to the works and life of a writer called OSARAGI Jiro (Real name: NOJIRI Kiyohiko, 1897-1973)*. Yamate was once a foreign settlement in the 19th century and many western style houses and churches of the pre-war period still remain, even to this day. The area is a popular sightseeing spot because of its distinct western atmosphere and beautiful townscape. Official residences of the British and French consuls were once located in Minatonomieruoka Park and some of the buildings and remains are still there today. It is very fun to stroll around the park because of its excellent views, flowerbeds, and rose garden.
You can easily find the Osaragi Jiro Memorial Museum in Minatonomieruoka Park due to its distinctive red brick tile and arch roof. The western-style interior and white walls, coupled with blue light entering through the stained glass create a nice atmosphere. The combination of the red brick tiles and the white/blue interior is indicative of the French flag, a country that OSARAGI Jiro had a strong connection with. The building also features many unique details, such as ornaments in the shape of cats, because OSARAGI Jiro loved cats. The building is popular amongst cat lovers. In addition, there are Japanese elements in various places such as a design of a plum on the wall and a Japanese-style room. The Japanese-style room has a relaxing, calm atmosphere and cherry trees or colored leaves can be seen through the window. They are especially beautiful in the spring and the autumn. Please note that you must reserve the room in advance (at extra cost), however it is opened to the public during the cherry blossom and autumn leaves season unless it is booked for a special occasion. Furthermore, some may find it interesting to see the restoration of the bedroom and study room of OSARAGI Jiro’s house in Kamakura. The room is filled with furniture that was actually used at the time! It may be an interesting experience for those of you who want to feel like you're living in OSARAGI's era.
The entrance fee to the museum is very reasonable (only 200 yen for adults). I highly recommend a visit if you're ever in Yokohama.

* OSARAGI Jiro was born in present-day Hanabusacho (Naka ward, Yokohama city). Though his house was in Kamakura, he was a writer deeply connected to Yokohama. He wrote novels about Yokohama such as ”Muteki” (Foghorn) and ”Gento” (Magic Lantern) and he was also engaged in various writing activities at the Hotel New Grand located in Yokohama for 10 years.

An ornament in the shape of a cat

Ornaments in the shape of cats

A Japanese-style room

View of cherry blossoms from the Japanese-style room

View of autumn leaves from the Japanese-style room

Japanese elements

A Japanese element

The hall

The hall

The hall

The hall

The saloon

A chair in the saloon

View of Minatonomieruoka Park from the saloon

The bedroom and study room

An exhibition room

Lastly, I would like to introduce “Tea Room Muteki”, a cafe located in the Osaragi Jiro Memorial Museum. You can enjoy refreshments and sweets such as coffee and cheesecake that is made using Mrs. OSARAGI’s recipe. I highly recommend their Cheesecake! It has a rich taste, yet the flavor is not overpowering. Coffee and cheesecake are both 500 yen each (excluding tax), but if you order them together as a set, the total is the price of the drink+300 yen (excluding tax). The cafe has many pictures and ornaments of lovely cats. Some people choose to only visit “Tea Room Muteki”, but I highly recommend checking out the Osaragi Jiro Memorial Museum as well. There is a discount when you visit both the museum and the cafe!

Tea Room Muteki

Coffee and cheesecake