Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan Museum

Welcome to the Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan Museum

The Maeda Tosanokami-ke Shiryokan Museum preserves and displays approximately 9000 historical articles, including around 6,000 pieces of ancient writings, along with armor, weaponry, arts and calligraphy handed down through the generations in the Maeda Tosanokami family.
These articles passed down through the family have been thoroughly preserved through the generations, and little has been lost or destroyed. Many of these pieces are preserved in good condition, with the majority of the items being ancient writings collected from the Warring States period through the Meiji period.
The museum introduces the history of the Maeda Tosanokami family and the world of the upper-class Kaga Clan samurai through exhibitions, rearranged four times a year, showcasing around 80 items each.

Floor Map


A Two-Story and One-Basement Reinforced Concrete Building (with a partial steel-frame)
Site area 1,805m2, building area 634m2, total floor area 1,098m2
Built in April 2002

Museum Hours

9:30 a.m. − 5:00 p.m. (Last admission at 4:30 p.m.)

Closed Period

Every Monday (or the next weekday if Monday is a holiday)
Change-of-exhibition period
Year-end and New year holiday

Adults 310 yen
Groups (20 people or more) 260 yen
Age 65 or over 210 yen
High school students or younger free
Joint tickets for both this museum and the Shinise Memorial Hall
Adults 360 yen
Those aged 65 or over 260 yen

Special Exhibitions are charged for on a case-by-case basis.


By Bus

From JR Kanazawa Station, take a Hokutetsu bus
at the East Exit Bus Terminal and get off at "Korinbo" bus stop,
from where it is 6 minutes walk.

By Tour Bus

About 1 minute walk from the Naga-machi Tourist Parking.

*There is no parking at the Museum, so please use toll parking lots in the vicinity.


2-10-17 Kata-machi, Kanazawa, Ishikawa 920-0981
TEL: (076)233-1561   FAX: (076)261-0806


The Origin of the House of Maeda-Tosanokami

The House of Maeda-Tosanokami is a branch family of the Maeda Clan, and its lineage can be traced back to Maeda Toshimasa, second son of the founder of the Kaga Domain, Maeda Toshiie, and his wife Matsu.
Toshimasa had once ruled over Notonokuni, but after the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, he was rebuked by Tokugawa Ieyasu for his actions and lost his land. Afterwards, he lived on in Kyoto as a cultural figure.
Toshimasa’s eldest son, the second generation patriarch Maeda Naoyuki, was raised by his grandmother Hoshunin Matsu, and in 1615 at the age of 12 he entered the service of the third feudal lord, Maeda Toshitsune.
Later on, the House of Maeda-Tosanokami became one of the so-called Kaga-Hakka (the eight most powerful families of Kaga) and played an important role in the governance of the Kaga Domain.

Shosoku Letter by Hoshunin Matsu

This is a letter written about 400 years ago by Hoshunin Matsu, wife of Maeda Toshiie. A shosoku is a letter written in hiragana. In this letter, one can feel the deep love that Matsu held for her family.

Living Room of an Elite Samurai (Partially restored)

This is a room where particular features of the traditional architectural style commonly used in Japanese samurai houses are reproduced. In addition to the tatami-matted floor, from the right you can see staggered shelving, the tokonoma alcove, and the shoin writing alcove. It is believed that the living room of the patriarch of the Maeda Tosanokami Family had also been built in this style. This traditional type of living room can still be found in some modern residences.

Armor made with black lacquer and black lacing, used by Maeda Toshimasa

The kabuto war helmet was modelled off the ears of a rabbit. The hachi, or crown of the helmet, was made from 6 iron plates that were formed into the shape of rabbit ears and then covered in silver leaf.
The two-part okegawa cuirass (defensive armor for the torso) is made from iron plates covered with black lacquer, while the lower section is coated in silver leaf. In addition to the lacquered iron plates, the laces and fabric used in the armor are all black. The thigh protectors are decorated with patterns in gold leaf. The coordinated use of the three colors black, gold, and silver seems to reflect his father’s sense of style and his mother’s refinement.

Kanazawa and Japanese gardens

As the pride of Japanese traditional culture, Japanese gardens are known throughout the world. In Kanazawa, garden construction and cultivation became popular during the Edo period. The Kenrokuen Garden is particularly famous as one of the great gardens of Japan. Generation upon generation of rulers carefully contributed to its construction until it was finally completed after 200 years.
Garden construction was also common among elite samurai, and it is believed that the Maeda Tosanokami Family, which had owned an expansive property, also had a magnificent garden of their own.

Special Features of the Japanese Garden

This Japanese garden was newly built using traditional techniques on the occasion of the grand opening of this museum in 2002. Modeled in an Edo-era landscaping style called shointei, the garden is exquisitely decorated and is built in such a way that it could be wandered through and enjoyed.
If you look closely, you may be able to spot traditional Kaga garden construction techniques and historical materials, such as stone, used in several strategic places to evoke the spirit of Kanazawa.
Although small, this garden incorporates water motifs, a flat open space, and artificial hills, as well as stepping stones, a stone lantern, and a chozubachi washbasin.

Ryochi Hanmotsu Official Document

This document accompanied stipends issued by the Kaga lord to the Tosanokami Family. They contain the official signature of the Kaga lord..Since it was a document that guaranteed the survival of the family, it was most important to samurai in the Edo period. The stipend that the Maeda Tosanokami Family received was 10,050 koku of rice (koku: a unit of samurai’s income defined in terms of a quantity of rice, 1 koku of rice weighing 150 kg), which was later increased to 11,000 koku.

Ryochi Kuzen-an Official Announcement of Appointment

This document was issued by the Imperial Court to the patriarch of the Maeda Tosanokami Family when he was appointed to the ministerial position of Jugoinoge Tosanokami. As successive generations of patriarchs attained this official position, the family came to be known as the Maeda-Tosanokami Family.
Jugoinoge stands for court rank while tosanokami stands for the official post, and together they indicate a ministerial position. Since these positions were ordinarily given to samurai, they were called bukekan-i, or the official ranks of samurai. Only a small number of samurai were appointed to these ranks.

Armor made of lacquered leather and white lacing, an heirloom of the Maeda-Tosanokami Family

Originally fashioned in the Muromachi Period, it was partially remodeled in the Edo period. The decorations on the brow of the helmet represent the crest of a wave.
The cuirass (defensive armor for the torso) is made of iron plates covered with leather and decorated with round ornaments. On the gauntlets and parts of the shoulder, the umebachi-mon family crest of House of Maeda-Tosanokami can be seen.