Iroha-souan – the old temporary abode of Rosanjin

About Iroha-souan – the old temporary abode of Rosanjin

The main wing of the residence was built during the 1870s. It is made from wood, has two stories, and covers an area of 72m2. There is a roof truss integrated into the Kirizuma style (gable) roof, which is used for smoke extraction. The bengara (a red pigment) contains iron and has a high durability, so it is used in many structures in the Kaga region (such as bengara-coated lattices and walls etc.). In 2001, the building was registered as a national tangible cultural property with the name “Kitaoji-Rosanjin Gukyo”, and in October 2002 it was opened to the general public as “Iroha-souan – the old temporary abode of Rosanjin”.

Rosanjin Kitaoji

Rosanjin was an artist who mastered calligraphy, seal engraving, painting, ceramics, lacquering, and cookery. Adopting the beauty of nature as his teacher, he believed in the “adoration of natural beauty” and pursued it throughout his lifetime.

Rosanjin Kitaoji  Approximate timeline and Yamashiro days

1883 Born and given the birth name Fusajiro. Second son of Seiso Kitaoji, a hereditary priest serving the Kamigamo Shrine in Kyoto. Soon after birth he was given out as a foster child, experiencing a difficult childhood.
1886 While being carried on his mother’s back while she was walking, he was amazed and moved by a brilliant red azalea, which he had seen. He became captivated by beauty.
1903 With his sights set on becoming a calligrapher, he headed to Tokyo.
1913 He worked for Seibe Naiki, a wealthy merchant in Kyoto, in exchange for lodging. He became familiar with the taste of Kyoto cuisine.
August 1915 Rosanjin (at the time went by the name Taikan Fukuda) had become a talented calligrapher and seal engraver. He stayed at the Hosono house, where he met Seika Suda I, Yoshino Jiro and Takichi Ota, tea ceremony companions of Endai. Through his seat at these tea ceremonies, he received requests for wooden engraved signboards for Yamashiro Onsen inns.
October 1915 Taikan, who had been taken along to Yamashiro Onsen by Endai Hosono, was welcomed as a guest at the Yoshinoya Inn, and began his work of engraving wooden signs at the cottage offered to him (the present-day Iroha-souan).
November 1915 Completed the “Seika” wooden engraved signboard. The beauty of his work earned him entry into the Seika pottery workshop, where he experienced ceramic painting for the first time. At first, Taikan (Rosanjin), who was a calligrapher, was perplexed by how the brush did not glide over the fired pottery as he thought it would. From that day on, apart from engraving signboards, he spent time at the Seika kiln, and became captivated by ceramic art. Seika I was astonished by Taikan’s bold and accurate brushwork, and it was at this time that he noticed Taikan’s talent for ceramics.
April 1916 Stayed until the warabi sprouted in spring.
1925 Established the high class restaurant “Hoshigaoka Saryo” in Akasaka, Tokyo, and took on the concurrent roles of advisor and head chef.
1936 After being fired from Hoshigaoka Saryo, devoted himself to ceramic production in north Kamakura.
1955 Declined recognition as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset (Living National Treasure).
1959 Passed away at the age of 76.

The danna-shu of Yamashiro Onsen and Rosanjin

The danna-shu of those times built a cottage (the present-day Iroha-souan) nearby Yamashiro Onsen so they could enjoy lectures on fine arts, tea ceremonies and Noh recitations. The danna-shu welcomed the unknown Rosanjin warmly, and offered him the cottage. They would visit Rosanjin in the cottage and chat about calligraphy and fine arts, and antiques. Henceforth the cottage became a cultural center of Yamashiro. Until his last years, Rosanjin often visited Yamashiro and deepened his friendships with the danna-shu. For him, Yamashiro was a place of learning and solace, and a second home.


Address18-5 Yamashiro Onsen, Kaga City, Ishikawa Prefecture 922-0242
Phone numberTel: (0761) 77-7111 Fax: (0761) 77-7110
Designated administratorKaga City Sogo Services Co., Ltd.
NameIroha-souan – the old temporary abode of Rosanjin


Opening hours9:00am~5:00pm Last entry: 4:30pm
Closed on Wednesdays (open on national holidays)
Entry feeAdult: 560 yen Group: 460 yen (per person) Senior: 280 yen
Children (high school age and below) and people with disabilities: free

Access information (by car)

from Komatsu Airport30 minutes
from JR Kaga Onsen Station10 minutes
from Kaga IC20 minutes

English brochure

We have an English brochure.