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Nanri Tei: Explore the History of this Centuries old Japanese House

This magnificent dwelling, built during the Edo era (1603 – 1868), is the oldest town house in Saga city and has been beautifully restored.
Old Japanese-style houses such as this were built in the traditional architectural style of pre-Meiji Japan. Roofing materials and the arrangement of rooms differ depending on the period in which the houses were built.
The Nanri residence, located in the Yanagi district of Saga city was built as a private residence. At the time, this street was lined with a number of large houses, built by local merchants. There is no doubt that the Nanri residence was one of the most magnificent.
The wooden door is opened and closed by sliding to one side.
sliding door
When you enter the house you step up onto a raised wooden floor.
It was built in a way that would enable the occupants to keep an eye on the trade outside on the street.
Beyond the wooden flooring is a tatami room and more wooden sliding doors.
Above the doors, which are called shoji doors, are these splendid wood engravings.
This space, known as the “tokonoma“, is traditionally decorated with flowers and hanging scroll heirlooms. These decorations are changed with the seasons.
This type of old-fashioned staircase looks like a slanted ladder and is very steep.
These support posts seen on the second floor serve an extremely important role in supporting the building. The large ones were crafted from trees said to be several hundred years old. Thanks to these solid posts, the building still stands, several hundred years on.
To upstairs
Take care when coming down the stairs though!
A bonsai pine tree peaks above the roof top!
roof pine tree
An ordinary pine tree can be seen growing in the courtyard from this viewpoint on the second floor. But if you climb down into the courtyard you’ll be surprised!
pine tree

It’s actually a giant bonsai! Imagine, a tree planted in a stone plant pot growing this tall!

The curvature of the branches has a certain charm.
From the back street view, you can look down on the building’s intricate structure.
The majority of houses in modern day Japan are built in a Western style and have a very different arrangement of rooms and flooring from traditional housing. However, there is a growing trend to protect and restore these valuable old Japanese-style buildings. It was a strong desire to resurrect such buildings which led the present owner of the Nanri residence to painstakingly restore this building.
Thanks to its solid construction, which has kept it standing for centuries, and to the cooperation of those who cherish these historically valuable sites, the Nanri residence can be enjoyed in all its glory. Why not see for yourself?


Nanri Tei (南里邸)
Address: 9-8 Yanagi machi, Saga city
Telephone: 0952-28-7225
Access 1: 10 min drive from Saga station
Distance to airport: 11 km from Saga Airport
Parking: Free parking

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