Names in this site follow the Japanese custom of family name first.

November 7, 2012

Shiga Naoya's House in Nara (Museums, Nara Guide)

The author Shiga Naoya (1883-1971) often moved house, but he lived for nine years in Nara, where he designed and built his own house. That house is now a museum and stands in Takabatake, at the foot of Mt Wakakusa and Mt Kasuga. Shiga lived here from 1929 to 1938.

Shiga Naoya's House in Nara
[Shiga Naoya's House]

Shiga was born into an ex-samurai family of Tohoku, but grew up in Tokyo where his father was a banker. His family was so well-off that Shiga always had the security of money, although the fact that he went his own way and became a writer led to a long quarrel with his father.

Shiga Naoya's House in Nara
[The sun room]

Shiga Naoya wrote relatively little: one novel (A Dark Night's Passing), one novella (Reconciliation) and about 60 short stories. For Shiga, writing was a spiritual exercise, and once he acquired the necessary tranquility, he stopped writing. There was also no financial necessity to work, as we have seen.

Shiga Naoya's House in Nara
[View from the bedroom]

Shiga mostly found his subject matter in his autobiography. He disliked plot as "too fabricated" and gives us realistic and psychologically insightful vignettes from daily life. But although nothing seems to happen in his stories, the protagonists always come out of them as transformed persons. Shiga has often been misunderstood by Western commentators who disliked his lack of plot. But in Japan he has always had a very high status: especially the perfection and sincerity of his prose style are highly praised.

Shiga Naoya's House in Nara 
[The garden]

Shiga's Nara residence is in mixed Japanese-Western style, a sprawling structure with a large garden. The front garden is in classical Japanese style, the garden at the back features a large lawn. It is a comfortable house, a house built by someone with taste. What I likes most was the Sun Room, a sort of conservatory, with comfortable chairs and a glass window in the ceiling.
Tel: 0742-26-6490
Hours: 9:30-17:30 (in winter: 16:30)
Entrance Fee: 350 yen
Access: 10 min walk east from the Wari-ishi bus stop on the Nara Shinai Junkan line