Fact: Women samurais existed, once upon a time. The onna-bugeisha was a type of female warrior who fought alongside her male counterpart in feudal Japan.

When we were in Kanazawa, we visited the Nomura Samurai House 武家屋敷跡 野村家. Located in Nagamachi, which is one of the older districts of Kanazawa, this was home to 11 generations of the Nomura family for 400 years once upon a time.

The Nomura Samurai House is a lovely and well-preserved example of a traditional Japanese home.

Nomura Samurai House in Kanazawa
Shot with a Canonet rangefinder on Portra 160 film

What I appreciate most about the house is the intimate Japanese garden in the heart of the house, complete with a winding stream with carps, stone lanterns, a miniature waterfall, as well as cherry, Chinese maple and pine trees.

Nomura Samurai House in Kanazawa

As described in this extensive article in The Japan Times, the garden can be enjoyed from the open-air porch or the tea-room on the second floor of the house. If I lived in a house with a verdant garden like this, I would be incredibly contented to be in such a tranquil sanctuary.

The Nagamachi neighbourhood felt more authentic and charming than the tea-house districts of Nishi and Higashi Chaya which were overrun by tourists and pseudo geisha houses. Walking around Nagamachi, it felt like we were in a historic residential area that has continued its serene pace of life, whereas the geisha districts seemed like they were desperately trying to hold on to its former repute.

Nagamachi (samurai) district in Kanazawa

Processed with VSCOcam with s2 preset

I highly recommend visiting the Nomura Samurai House if you are in Kanazawa. This, together with the beautiful Kenroku-en Garden, makes Kanazawa a must-visit for anyone who is interested in Japanese gardens.

For more information, visit: www.nomurake.com.


11 replies on “Vignettes of Japan #12: If I were a Samurai

    1. This is probably an exemplary example belonging to the upper reaches of the society (as the Nomura samurai family was affluent). I would be content to live in a place with a garden like this 😉

  1. I didn’t know about women samurais, so thank you for that piece of information. Otherwise the garden of Nomura Samurai House does indeed look gorgeous, and captured it beautifully in these photos.

    1. Hey, sorry for the belated reply. I had been travelling for most of the last few weeks and only saw your message now. I was in Doha on a work trip when it happened and all is fine on my side. Thanks for checking in 🙂

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