Some old things deserve to be preserved and that is the thinking behind a newly-opened art gallery in Kanagawa’s Fujisawa City that features a 180-year-old tatami room as part of its gallery space.

The room was part of a grander residence built around 1842 for a village headman and dry-goods dealer. The traditional thatched roof home included a shop and was built entirely from keyaki wood, with construction taking around three years. Unfortunately, the house was demolished in 1975 as the owners struggled to keep up with its maintenance. Only the kamizashiki (the most prestigious room of a traditional home) and tokonoma alcove was salvaged and reconstructed in their current location as part of a normal, post-war home in Fujisawa City.

The gallery owner’s mother lived in the house for many years but it had sat vacant for the past five years.

After giving the house a contemporary renovation while retaining the historic tatami room, Obi Gallery opened its doors in May 2022. Lacquerware and pottery by two Kamakura-based artists will be on display until September 19. The gallery is open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays, with Tuesdays and Wednesdays by appointment only.

Source: The Kanagawa Shimbun, September 6, 2022.