Here it’s obvious why the warehouse was not moved along with the main building and reconnected as before. It is made of stone, so it had to be left in place. But with the new annex, the main building is once again connected to the old warehouse.
How old? We don’t know. We can see it in a photo taken just after the great fire in the Showa era, so we know it was built before 1929. One theory suggests that its contents survived that fire because the family had used a soybean paste as a gap filler in the construction of the door, thus keeping the fire from getting inside.
Sadly, nothing could keep out the surging seawater in the 2011 tsunami. Along with household goods, it swept away most of the records of the business, going back to its beginnings. Now we cannot say whether the warehouse stood at the time of the 1914 fire. The best guess is that it was built sometime between the two great fires, perhaps on the trapezoid foundation of a structure that burned.
Happily, not everything was lost by fire or flood. The old warehouse is now a mini-museum, displaying the family’s tableware from the Meiji and Taisho eras along with rice cookers, old and new, and on the second floor an archive about foods and rice.
【Audio guide is also available 】