Monday, October 29, 2007

The Watanabe House

The Watanabe House, located in Sekikawa Village, is a splendid example of an Edo period samurai dwelling, or yashiki. The Watanabe clan were retainers of the Murakami daimyos, whose powerful influence during the Tokugawa Shogunate was widespread throughout Niigata. The main tourist attraction in Sekikawa, the house and its outbuildings are in an excellent state of repair. A wing of the structure is inhabited by descendants of the former samurai warriors.

Monday, October 01, 2007

The Zensaku Roadside Tea Shop

At first glance, the Zensaku Tea Shop appears as unremarkable as it is precariously situated. Located on Niigata's Prefectural Route 7- and practically in the northbound lane-, Zensaku's drab exterior and array of nondescript sundries within (some of them surely past their sell-by date) hardly invite further interest. But no visitor to the vicinity of Kamo City should miss the opportunity to patronize this nationally famous establishment. The Zensaku Tea Shop was opened over 130 years ago. The current proprietor is 80 years old and the fourth since the shop was established. Zensaku, whose name translates as "made with goodness", faces the Kamo River a few kilometers outside of Kamo City, a quaint town known locally as the "Kyoto of Niigata".