Kamiyashiki of Matsudaira Tadamasa

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Upper residence of Matsudaira Tadamasa as depicted in the Edo-zu byōbu screens (17th century)
1:30 architectural model of the gate reserved for high visitors, in the Edo-Tokyo Museum
1:30 model of the main gate seimon that was next to the daidokoro.

The Kamiyashiki of Matsudaira Tadamasa was a large residential complex that was located outside Edo Castle in the 17th century.


Matsudaira Iyo-no-kami Tadamasa (1597–1645), daimyō of the Echizen Domain (later Fukui Domain), built his "upper residence" or main residence (上屋敷 kamiyashiki) in front of the Ōtemon gate of Edo Castle. During the Edo period, a Kamiyashiki (上屋敷) was the "upper" or main residence of a lord, as opposed to his "lower" or smaller residence or retreat, called Shimoyashiki (下屋敷), outside of Edo. Another spare Edo residence was the Nakayashiki (中屋敷), usually inhabited by the younger generation who would succeed to the lordship.[1]

This residence was a magnificent Momoyama-style compound, constructed on a large lot. In 1657 however, during the disastrous Great Fire of Meireki, this mansion burned to the ground. Thereafter, such luxurious residences were no longer built.


The mansion consisted of a main building with two large roofs, constructed of Japanese Cedar. The residence was only one storey high in the typical shōin style, with large roofs for ventilation. Apart from the main residence there were other minor buildings for servants as well as a number of gardens with trees. The complex was protected by high, white-washed walls with two-storey watch towers at each corner. The main access to the residence was through two gates, while there were minor gates for servants in the back part. One broad gate was close to the daidokoro, which was the main part of the residence, while a second gate was reserved normally only for high visitors such as the shogun himself. The gate for the shogun was monumental in proportions, painted black with golden adornments, with two painted phoenixes above. The curved roof with the symbol of the Matsudaira family above added to a sense of importance. A small moat ran along three sides of the mansion.

The layout and appearance was typical for the daimyō residences in the Ōtemachi area outside Edo Castle, as is evidenced in the depiction seen on the contemporary Edo-zu byōbu screens from the 17th century.

The 1/30 scale model in the Edo-Tokyo Museum was reproduced based mainly on three sources: illustrations in the Iyo-dono yashiki sashi-zu ("Illustrations of the mansion of the Governor of Iyo") which is in the possession of the Ikeda family archives at Okayama University, the Edo-zu byōbu ("Screens of Edo") in the collection of the National Museum of Japanese History, and the Kōra Kōnen oboegaki ("Memorandum of Kōra Kōnen") in the Tokyo Metropolitan Library. Some of the minor structures have been left out in the model in order to highlight the main buildings in the back. The minor buildings included servants quarters, storage, stables, etc. and their position is indicated by the beige layout on the white ground.

1:30 scale architectural model of the residence of the daimyo Matsudaira Tadamasa, in the Edo-Tokyo Museum
1:30 scale architectural model of the residence, in the Edo-Tokyo Museum

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External links[edit]

Media related to Residence of the daimyo Matsudaira Tadamasa at Wikimedia Commons