the Former Residence of Tadatsugu Honda

Japanese Park |Beautiful Japanese culture!| Okazaki Park#04 -Tadakatsu Honda and Former Residence of Tadatsugu Honda


Do you know about Japanese parks? Okazaki Park has a stature of Tadakatsu Honda. And East Park has the Former Residence of Tadatsugu Honda. At 4T-AMKY, Teachers and Students write about Japanese culture, food, history, many spots to visit, and other stuff. Enjoy reading and knowing about deeper Japanese culture!

Okazaki Park#04 – Tadakatsu Honda and Former Residence of Tadatsugu Honda


This residence was built in 1932 by Tadatsugu Honda on a large plot of land in Setagaya Ward in Tokyo. Now it has been relocated to East Park in Okazaki city, a place associated with the Honda family, in Aichi Prefecture. It was restored in 2010-2012.

Tadatsugu Honda is a descendant of the Honda family, former lords of the Okazaki domain, whose ancestor was Tadakatsu Honda, commonly known as Heihachiro (1548-1610).

Tadakatsu Honda was a genuine Mikawa samurai born in 1548 in the present-day Okazaki City. He served Tokugawa Ieyasu as one of the Tokugawa-shitennos (four generals of the Tokugawa clan). At the Battle of Mikatagahara, he was praised by the enemy Takeda forces for his bravery, saying, “There are two things that are too much for Ieyasu. One is  a Kabuto made in Kara (Samurai helmet made in China) and another is Honda Heihachi”.

Statue of Tadakatsu Honda in Okazaki Park
Statue of Tadakatsu Honda in Okazaki Park

The photo shows the statue of Tadakatsu Honda in Okazaki Park. He wears a Samurai helmet and armor, and carries a long spear. This spear possessed by Tadakatsu is called “Tombokiri”. The name comes from an anecdote about a dragonfly that perched on the tip of the spear blade and was cut in half. (Japanese “Tombo” means dragonfly and “kiri” means cut.) He went to 57 battles, large and small, from his first battle to the remainder of his life he remained unharmed.

After the Battle of Sekigahara (1600), the descendants of Tadakatsu were repeatedly transferred as a Fudai daimyo (hereditary vassals to the Tokugawa family). In 1769, the 11th Tadatoshi was transferred to Okazaki in Mikawa and ruled the area for about 100 years until the Meiji Restoration. The 16th Tadanao, the last lord of the Okazaki domain, became governor of the Okazaki domain due to the Hanseki-hokan (the return of lands and people to the emperor) in 1869. In 1871, he was relieved of his post as governor of the domain according to the policy of haihan-chiken (abolition of domains and establishment of prefectures), and moved his home to Tokyo (present-day Hongo, Bunkyo Ward, where the Honda family’s mansion was located). Though the 17th Tadaatsu left Okazaki for his home in Tokyo, he is an honorary citizen of Okazaki City, having contributed to the city’s educational programs, donated the entire area of the former Okazaki Castle to Okazaki City, and cooperated in the development of Okazaki Park. The descendants of the Honda family still live in Tokyo today.

Tadatsugu was born in 1896, the second son of the 17th Tadaatsu. He was a new generation living in a new era, having studied at Gakushuin and then at the department of philosophy of Tokyo Imperial University. After careful research and preparation, he selected the site and did the basic architectural design by himself, and completed the residence in about a year at the age of 36. It was never damaged by air raids. After the war, it was confiscated by the GHQ (General Headquarters, the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers), but after it was returned, Tadatsugu spent his life in this residence, which he was very fond of, until his death in 1999 at the age of 103.

Excerpt from the brochure of the Former Residence of Tadatsugu Honda
Excerpt from the brochure of the Former Residence of Tadatsugu Honda

The building is based on the Spanish style, reflecting the rural taste that was booming at the time. In the front yard, there is a large pool with a wall fountain, which is said to be essential to the Spanish architectural style. It became a registered tangible cultural property (building) of Japan in 2014.

Okazaki City relocated and preserved the former residence of Tadatsugu Honda and opened it to the public in 2012 with the aim of deepening citizens’ understanding of the protection of cultural properties through its use. In addition to furniture from the period, stained glass and other furnishings are on permanent display in the residence.

The last photo and part of the text are excerpts from the brochure.