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Saffron story

Here is a historic site of a wealthy merchant, a brewing company producing saffron-liqueur, the most prosperous period was in the early stage after World War 2. The business ended in a few decades ago. Kina is name of a kind of trees, and "kinine", medical component, had been included in the bar of kina before World War 2. Saffron is the same kind of plant species as crocus.

The founder of the company sold the liqueur as a medicated liqueur for health promotion. In the first half of the 20th century, sales channel was around the country, and greatly prospered.

This building with its beautifully decorated architecture was built in 1920s. It is made by proficient "Kote-E" skill, like plaster-technique developed in Western Europe. It has been passed about one hundred years, however it is said that their colors were hardly deteriorated. Formerly it had been used as a office and now it is shown to the public in a few days a week. It is registered as a National Cultural Property.

Keynote of the Kote-E on the east face of the building
God-kings of ancient China, guarding east, west, south, north respectively, and the other god-kings. Several god-kings had been come from western countries, including central Asia and Egypt. For example, blue animals seen there are drawn as phoenix. Pigment used for blue color is said King of Blue, a flower color of "Tropic water-lily".

Keynote of the north and south faces
Japanese twelve animals bringing good fortune, namely prosperous business and prosperous descendants For example, boar ( original species of pig ) is a God of rice field and crop. Silver grass means autumn, harvesting season.

Keynote inside the building
Several figures praying prosperous are made. They have been thought as marks of auspiciousness.

・ Luxury annex house ( used for guesthouse )
Lavish rooms, corridors, decorated with a lot of Japanese-style woodwork and furniture were installed inside the house. Ceiling of the rooms are elaborately-crafted with Japanese-style or Western-style suitable for each room respectively.

・Wide Japanese garden with various valuable natural stones and large garden lanterns

Almost all the lanterns had been fallen over during the large earthquake attacking Nagaoka area in 2004, they have been restored in these years
A lot of volunteers including the Settaya neighborhood association, university students and citizens are weeding the garden three or four times a year.

Please visit the other pages in "Messages from guides".


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