In Western buildings, the dining room is one of the most important rooms along with the drawing room. Despite its gorgeous design, the dining room has a serene and sublime atmosphere. Sitting rigidly in the high-backed chairs to dine was considered proper, and Jacobean style * furniture was common.
The chandelier, fireplace and curtain railings are originals. The tiles on the fireplace were made in England. The mirror is a reproduction made from the traces left on the wall above the fireplace. This style was used extensively in Western buildings during the late Meiji period. At the upper center of the frame is the crest of the Arisugawa-no-miya family.
- * Jacobean style: A style of furniture popular in England in the late 17th century, distinguished by the use of deep engravings.
The drawing room is Tenkyokaku’s central room. The furniture is in rococo*1-style arranged to Japanese tastes, and is distinguished by Western forms with maki-e (decorative gold or silver powder) and raden (shell or ivory inlay) used on lacquer. This style reached its golden age in the second and third decades of the Meiji period (the Meiji period extended from 1868 to the 1912), and was popular in palaces, detached palaces, imperial villas and the residences of the imperial family and the nobility. This chair is a replica of one from the Rokumeikan in Tokyo, which was a famous western-style hall built in the late 19th century. Made of keyaki (a type of zelkova wood) with wiped lacquer, the pattern is on the motif of “Flowers and Birds of the Four Seasons” by Sakai Hoitsu*2. The splendid rococo chandelier with its charming angels, the fireplace and the curtain railings are originals, given as gifts by the Takamatsu-no-miya family. The oil painting is by Ueno Koichi*3, and has been at Tenkyokaku since its completion. This was also a gift from the Takamatsu-no-miya family.
- *1 Rococo-style: A style of decoration begun in France in the reign of Louis XV, featuring such elements as complex undulations and curved flowers, etc., colored in gold to achieve rich, exuberant decorations.
- *2 Sakai Hoitsu: Born Horeki 11 (1761) in Edo (Tokyo). A painter and haiku poet of the late Edo period. An ardent admirer of Ogata Korin.
- *3 Ueno Koichi: Born Meiji 19 (1886) in Iwate Prefecture. Traveled to France where he studied under Jean-Paul Laurens. After returning to Japan, he became a portrait painter and established a school.
Many Western-style buildings of the Meiji period had billiards rooms. The billiards table originally in Tenkyokaku’s billiards room was a four-ball table typical of the Meiji period. It was nicknamed “lion’s legs” because of the shape of its legs. From the traces left on the floor by the table’s feet, we know this was an American style four-ball billiards table. This table was originally owned by Hara Sankei, and was succeeded to Tenkyokaku. The light fixture overhead lights up the table evenly with four electric bulbs. This fixture is designed specifically for billiards table and eliminates any shadows on balls during the game. It is a replica of a light fixture from the Meiji period.
The round table for resting is an original. The chairs are reproductions made to match the table.
The chandelier is a reproduction based on the chandeliers in other rooms, and most of the curtain railings are original. The two fireplaces on the east and west sides of the room are also originals, and their tiles are from England. The oil painting is by Ueno Koichi.
This is the entrance hall, which is referred to in Japanese as “soto-hiroma”. The central corridor extending from here to the back of the building divides the residence in two, with the dining room, drawing room and billiards room being the main chambers on the south side, the office, night watchman’s room, attendants ’ rooms, kitchen and other service-related rooms on the north side. The fireplace, mirror, hat rack and chandelier are originals. The mirror and hat rack are in art nouveau style *.
- * Art nouveau: A style of architecture and art popular in the West at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. The style features flowing curved lines and surfaces inspired by plants.
It is not clear how these two rooms north of the bedroom were used originally, but it is believed they were used for changing and washing. The rococo-style dressing table and small chair were donated by Princess Takamatsu.
The other furniture consists of reproductions in rococo-style designed to match the dressing table and chair. The fireplace is original, while the chandelier was reproduced based on the two-light chandelier in the office on the first floor.
This room was used as a study. The corner cabinet was donated by the Takamatsu-no-miya family, and the other furnishings were reproduced based on the design of this cabinet. The mirror was reproduced based on the traces on the wall above the fireplace, and the ornate engraved pattern matches that of the corner cabinet. The corner cabinet’s pattern was also used on the bookshelf. The bookshelf and desk are in Jacobean style, and the swivel chair has a design typical of the Meiji period.
The chandelier was reproduced based on the chandeliers in other rooms. The tiles of the fireplace are English, and the exact same tiles are used in the Old Public Hall of Hakodate Ward in Hokkaido, designated as an Important Cultural Property in 1908. The marble bust of Prince Arisugawa Takahito was donated by the Takamatsu-no-miya family.
This sitting room also served as a guest room. The distinguishing feature of this room is the large octagonal coved ornament at the center of the chandelier, giving the room volume. The chandelier was reproduced based on the chandeliers in other rooms. The furniture is in elegant and subdued Louis XVI style*1, befitting a sitting room. The fireplace is original.
There is a small veranda on the south side, from which there had previously been a view over Lake Inawashiro. The veranda's columns are in ancient Greek style with Corinthian*2 capitals.
- *1 Louis XVI style: A style popular during the times of French king Louis XVI (1774 - 1792). It is distinguished by linear, clear, refined and elegant forms.
- *2 Corinthian: An order of ancient Greek architecture, featuring capitals decorated with acanthus leaves.
Western Guest Room
The western guest room is integrated with the adjacent antechamber, lavatory and toilet. It was designed for visiting guests, but was apparently used for many purposes. It is currently furnished as a small reception room. The furniture and mirror are in art nouveau style to create a casual atmosphere. The material of the chairs is French, with wild flowers designed in art nouveau style. The chandelier is a reproduction based on the light fixture in the entrance hall.
The lavatory basin and angled urinal in the restroom (both made by the Johnson Brothers of England) as well as the Western toilet stool (from the United States) are all originals.
The bronze statue by Shinkai Taketaro* is of Prince Arisugawa Takahito.
- * Shinkai Taketaro: Sculptor, born Meiji 1 (1868), died Showa 2 (1927). He studied in Germany, served as a jury member for the Bunten Art Exhibition since the first edition, and worked to introduce Western sculpture to Japan.
Powder Room & Lavatory
There was a powder room and lavatory adjacent to the bedroom. The washstand and mirror in the powder room are reproductions. The wash stand was reconstructed based on the traces of the water supply and drainage system on the floorboards and the contour lines of the dressing table legs. The mirror was reproduced based on the memory of Tenkyokaku’s original manager.
The angled urinal and toilet stool in the lavatory were reconstructed based on traces on the floor and wall where they were mounted, while the detailed forms were designed referring to the fixtures remaining in the western guest room. The high tank was also reconstructed based on the mount traces on the wall and water supply pipe traces on the ceiling. The hanging light fixture is original.
This room was used as a bedroom. There is a lavatory and toilet on the north side, and this area of the east side of the second floor, along with the study to the west and the dressing rooms further to the north, were exclusively for use by the host.
The fireplace is original, but the mirror is a reproduction based on the traces remaining on the wall over the fireplace. The chandelier was reproduced based on the chandeliers in other rooms.
All the rooms on the second floor have tatami with carpets over the top. This system of using tatami under the carpets rather than felt was commonly employed in imperial villas and detached palaces.