Kominka means an old private house built roughly before the 1900's using a traditional method without the use of a single nail. Different architectural styles were used to cater the needs of different Kominka houses such as: farmhouses, Shoya or village headman's houses, merchant's houses, or Samurai lord's houses. Locality is also reflected in the architecture. Magariya houses were popular in the northern part of Iwate Prefecture while Gassho-zukuri style houses, or A-frame houses in Shirakawago (Gifu Prefecture) seen in that part of Japan. Many of them have thatched roofs. Kominka excels in many ways because the right materials were used in the right places to last for as long as 200 to 300 years.
The Suzuki family, who had long been the leaders of the local village, was the owners of this house. The antique house was said to have been built in 1785. The Magariya houses are traditional L-shaped farmhouses typically found throughout Iwate's farming villages up north. Farmers kept horses they owned under the same roof.
Rarely found in Gunma, the main house and four other houses, including the Kura storehouse are still intact. Kura storehouses made of soil are called Dozo. At the present-day Nango-no Magariya, Dozo is the place for showcasing old agricultural tools. Mill houses you see today were used for day-to-day activities such as threshing, milling, yarn-making, etc.-typical ways to make a living.
Local ladies have been working very hard to create a cultural asset that can be used for the benefit of the present-day people. They work in shift to welcome visitors. Activities such as making soba and other wheat dishes as well as mayu cocoon crafting are offered. The Magariya house is maintained in a way to make visitors feel at home just like villagers have over the centuries. You can enjoy the authenticity of the old house and the coziness of a modern café at the same time. Across the street, there is a day onsen called "Shakunagenoyu".
In today's Japan, although gradually, more young people from the cities are moving to the countryside. They take up old Kominka, renovate them, move in, and spend the rest of their lives there. Prefectural and municipal governments also offer incentive programs to appeal to young visitors. If you are interested in moving to Gunma, please click here.
Location: 158-1 Hikagenango, Tone-machi, Numata
Hours: 10:00-16:00 (throughout the year)
Closed on Thursdays (When a Thursday falls on a holiday, the preceding day) & from Dec.29 to Jan. 3
Admissions: JPY100 for adults, JPY50 for Junior High Students, Free admission for elementary school children and those with Shogaisha Techo (Physically or mentally-impaired certificate holders)