Tenant sought for 95-year old historic home in Tokyo

Tokyo City is looking for a new tenant for the historic Ogasawara Residence in Shinjuku. The Spanish-style home was built in 1927 for Count Nagayoshi Ogasawara (1885-1935).

Ogasawara was the eldest son of Tadanobu Ogasawara, the last Daimyo of the Okura Clan of the former Buzen province in Kyushu. He studied abroad at the University of Cambridge, and later returned to Japan to join the Board of Ceremonies in the Imperial Household. He became a member of the House of Peers in 1918. 

His home was built on the site of his former family’s Edo-period estate. In the 1920s, Spanish-style residences were quite popular with Japan’s wealthy. The 2-story home is built of reinforced concrete and includes a basement. It was designed by Sone Tatsuzo, one of the famous proteges of architect Josiah Conder. His most famous work might be the University Library Building at Keio University, completed in 1912. He also worked with Josiah Conder on many of the red-brick buildings built in Marunouchi in the 1890s and early 1900s. He also designed the Senshokaku guest house for Mitsubishi in Nagasaki in 1904 (it’s still standing and designated as a World Heritage Site).

The 1,100 sqm residence sits on 3,055 sqm of grounds. 

In 1948, the property was confiscated by the US forces. Four years later it was returned to the Tokyo government, and until 1975 it was used as a children’s welfare center. After that, it was left to fall into ruin and at one point there were talks of demolishing it.

In 2000, the Tokyo government’s Bureau of Citizens, Culture and Sports, offered the property up for lease. By the end of that year a tenant had been found – a restaurant operator. The house underwent a significant restoration and opened to the public in 2002. It has been operating as the Ogasawara-tei restaurant and wedding facility for the past 20 years. With the lease term coming to an end, the Tokyo government is now looking for the next tenant. 

The next lease period will run from April 1, 2023 to March 31, 2033, under a 10-year fixed-term lease. The rent can be suggested by the potential tenant as part of the proposal, with a standard rental guide of 1.88 million Yen (approx. US$13,800) per month plus tax, and a 12-month deposit. There are also an estimated 82 million Yen in repairs and maintenance that are likely to be required within the next 9 years that will be the responsibility of the tenant.

The criteria require the tenant organization to make the best use of the building’s history and cultural value, take measures to make the property open to the public, be considerate of the surrounding residential environment, and implement energy-saving measures. 

Inspections requests had to be submitted by July 4, with private tours held between July 8 ~ 13. Interested tenants have until August 26 to submit their lease proposals. The government will announce the selected tenant in early November 2022.

Source: Tokyo Metropolitan Government Bureau of Citizens, Culture and Sports, June 23, 2022.

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