The heritage-listed Watanabe Residence in Maizuru City, Kyoto Prefecture, is listed for sale for 25,800,000 Yen (approx. 235,000 USD), leaving locals concerned about its fate. The 150-year old merchant house is registered as a Tangible Cultural Property.
The two-story machiya-style merchant house was built around 1870 for a shipping agent. The main house has a total floor area of 142 sqm (1,523 sq.ft), which is considerably large for a machiya of this style. The earthen-wall storehouse in the middle of the property is also heritage listed, and was built around the same time. A second warehouse, with brick foundations, adjoins Takano River at the rear, providing a glimpse into the former cityscape of this port district.
The house was heritage listed in 1998. It was in use as the office of a building material supplier until they closed in 1999. In 2001 it was put up for foreclosure, with a local resident acquiring the property. It has changed hands several times since then.
The house was listed for sale in late 2018. Several inquiries have been made. The seller hopes to find a buyer willing to continue to preserve and maintain the historic building.
There are no restrictions limiting the sale of Tangible Cultural Properties in Japan. However, the Agency for Cultural Affairs does require notification of a change in ownership.
Source: The Kyoto Shimbun, May 21, 2019.
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