Yokiso is an estate in the east of Nagoya city which was created by a man called Ito Jirozaemon Suketami. It was created as a passion project of his life, from 1918 until the end of the 1930s.
Ito Jirozaemon was a wealthy businessman who was a descendant of a historically important family in Japan. Famous for Kimono production nonetheless Ito wanted to change things, he founded the renowned Matsuzakaya department stores, which spread all over the country nowadays.
Ito was also a passionate traveller and had a great interest in Europe and the rest of Asia, he travelled far and collected many inspirations along the way. And the result of this can clearly be seen in Choshokaku, the main building in Yokiso with its distinct unique appearance which is unusual for Japanese architecture of the time. From the outside it is a fusion style of Japanese mountain lodge with Indian inspirations and inside is a mix of European, Chinese and Japanese with the entire basement being Indian and Cambodian style. It is clear that Ito was heavily inspired by his travels and this building defines his passion.
This building was actually built as a guesthouse for important guests and friends and was used as a place for entertainment with a stage room in the basement. Many parties and celebrations were held here and still are today.
Words and photos by Stefan Bingham.