2012-06-10

Old guest house Seikatei in Sapporo.

by Alan (U.S.A)

It was in a small green park of central area of Sapporo City and  near the premises of Hokkaido University.  It was curious to see such an Japanese old traditional wooden house in the center of Sapporo City. 
 I am not sure what was the purpose of the house but my friend told me that it was a guest house established by the national bureau for development of Hokkaido. It can be said that the design of the house is the mixture of Japanese and occidental style with an atmosphere.
Its open hour is 9:00 to 16:00 and if any questions, the superintendent of this house would be able to answer only in Japanese. 
 Its garden is well-trimmed and seems to have own history with aged trees.
My Japanese friend explained that the emperor of Japan in its Meiji Era had visited Hokkaido and had a rest in this guest house.At that time, this guest house had been in the first public park of Sapporo City, called Kairakuen and the garden was designed and supervised by German-American engineer Mr.Louis Bermer.
 Several hundred kinds of plants had been implanted in the park that was used as botanical garden and agricultural research center for the purpose of industrial development. Greenhouses, a museum and the institute of industrial research and development had been established in the park.
The hatchery of salmon and trout had been run along the river in the park.
After the national bureau for development of Hokkaido handed the function to the Hokkaido Government, each institute and research center was transferred to the other area of Hokkaido and the park lost its function given by public entity.
 The guest house was sold to the private company and the park around the house turned back to the calm forest in the city, where many kids explored, enjoyed crayfish fishing everyday.
In 1933, the guest house and its garden was donated to Sapporo City and assigned as a tangible heritage of Hokkaido.estate
It seems that very few people visit the estate despite many citizens live around the area. 
 If anybody could listen with an understanding, sympathetic ear, I could easily imagine the era in which Japan had been developing like greased lightening.
I think the part  o the park became the premises of Hokkaido University, considering the scale of the park around the guest house and the location.
 It must be very cold in this house in winter but in summer but in summer, surrounded by many trees, it seems to be comfortable.
What kind of heating system was used for this house?
 The design is like that for the traditional houses in the mainland of Japan.  I could not find the space and thickness of the wall for insulator.
Cold winds can enter from the gap of the windows. The Hokkaido standard for building houses seems to had been established later.
Please find this hideout in Sapporo City. 

I think it would cost a small fortune to rebuild this kind of houses nowadays.

5 comments:

  1. I would like to see this place. Can anyone post an address please?

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    1. I am very sorry for failing to check the comments. Seikatei is near the university co-op of Hokkaido University. The address is Kita 7-Jo ?, Nishi 8, Chuo-ku, Sapporo City. From the southern sidewalk of Kita 7-jo street, go down the stairs to the small park and Seikatei can be found in the residential area. Please find it and go inside the house! Thank you very much for attention and your comment!

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