Scenic Nagamachi (長町), west of Kōrinbo, is a compact area of twisting cobbled streets, gurgling streams and old houses, protected by thick mustard-coloured earthen walls, topped with ceramic tiles. This is where samurai and rich merchants once lived. Many of the traditional buildings remain private homes but one that is open to the public is Nomura House (野村家), worth visiting principally for its compact but beautiful garden with flowing carp-filled stream, waterfall and stone lanterns. The rich, but unflashy materials used to decorate the house reveal the wealth of the former patrons and, in keeping with the culture of the time, there is a simple teahouse where you can enjoy macha and a sweet for ¥350.

Also of interest is the Shinise Kinenkan (老舗記念館) a small museum in a handsome, spacious pharmacy and old merchant home. Upstairs, examples of the city’s various handicrafts are displayed, including an amazing flower display made entirely of sugar, and intricate designs of the gift decorations called mizuhiki. At Nagamachi Yūzenkan, 2-6-16 Nagamachi (長町友禅館), on the far western side of Nagamachi, you can learn more about the yūzen silk-dyeing process, paint your own design or buy pieces of the colourful fabric.

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