Ichiro Hatoyama was a politician and Prime Minister of Japan. Hatoyama Hall used to be his house and became a memorial hall open to the public. The construction work started in 1924, right after the Great Kanto Earthquake. Many of Hatoyama family’s favorite and memorial items remain in this hall.
When Liberal Party was established in 1950, their meetings were often held at this house. And the restoration of diplomatic relations between Japan and the Soviet Union was proceeding with preparation here, too. So, this place frequently appeared in Japanese modern political history.
The house is designed by Shinichiro Okada, a famous architect of the time. He was a childhood friend of the family head. On the first floor, there are three drawing rooms (they used to be a drawing room, a living room and a dining room) and a British style sun parlor fronts garden. On the 2nd floor, there are the large room, the memorial room used to be a study and the memorial room of Iichiro, the eldest son of Ichiro.
The highlights of Hatoyama Hall are stained-glass windows at the entrance, the sun parlor and the landings. They are made by a stained-glass designer, Sanchi Ogawa who was active during the Taisho and early Showa period. He drew Japanese atmosphere with complicated tone of colors.
Let’s go out to the courtyard from the sun parlor. There are a pond with colored carps and the statues of Ichiro’s parents, Kazuo and Haruko. Those statues were made by Fumio Asakura who was a sculptor called “Oriental Rodin.”
There are 140 roses of 90 different species in the garden. From late May to early June and from late October to early November, these two periods are the best seasons to see them. A view of the roses of various colors against the elegant British style house seems like a piece of painting. You will lose track of time when you take a walk in the garden with the sweet smell of roses.
Feb 2019 Text: Ryoko Kuraishi Photo: Yasuo Yamaguchi
Hours: 10:00 – 16:00 (last entry 15:30) Close: Mondays (if a national holiday falls on Monday, it is closed the next day), January to February, and August Admission: General 800 yen, over 65 years old 500 yen, student 400 yen, elementary and junior high school student 300 yen (Group discounts available)