• General Information
    ◆ Open hours 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (admission up to 4:00 p.m.)
    ◆ Closed days (Scheduled) Mondays
    (If Monday falls on a holiday, the following weekday)
    Year-end and New Year holidays (December 29 to January 3)
    December 12, 2023 to February 13, 2024 (Facilities repair)
    ◆ Admission fees Adults 150 yen, Elementary & Jr. High School Students 50 yen
    Special rates for groups of 20 persons or more
    Adults 80 yen, Elementary & Jr. High School Students 30 yen
    ◆ Notices Smoking, pet(s) and dangerous object(s) are NOT permitted on the premises.
    Access   Toei Subway Oedo Line, Seibu Shinjuku Line
    Nakai Station - 7-minute walk
    Opening today
Welcome to Hayashi Fumiko Memorial Hall
This building was the home of HAYASHI Fumiko, the writer best known for her works Hōrōki (Diary of Vagabond) and Ukigumo (Floating Clouds). She lived in this house from August 1941 until her death on June 28, 1951.
Since her coming to Tokyo in 1922, Fumiko endured many hardships. She moved to this Ochiai area in 1930. In December 1939, Fumiko purchased this lot of land and started building her new house.
Because the building size was legally restricted at this time, Fumiko and her husband, Ryokubin, who was the painter, separated their house into two buildings: the living wing in Fumiko’s name and the studio wing in Ryokubin’s name. The two buildings were connected soon after their completion.
Fumiko was very actively involved in building her new house. She studied architecture, traveled to Kyoto with a designer and a carpenter to observe houses for ideas and inspected timber. That is why this house, designed by YAMAGUCHI Bunzo, has a relaxing atmosphere that combines the details and characteristics of a Kyoto tearoom, and has an easygoing home style that reflects Fumiko’s personality. Rather than having a deluxe parlor, Fumiko wanted to spend more money on spaces such as the living room, bathroom, toilet and kitchen, and her concept is still clearly visible in all parts of the house.
Being a popular and busy writer, Fumiko received countless visitors every day who came to collect her manuscripts or to request work. Many times, Fumiko and her family had to pretended that they were not home. The lobby wall was always decorated with a small flower vase.
This room, with a small Buddhist altar placed on the inner shelf, was used by Fumiko’s mother, Kiku. It was also used as a bedroom for resident writers, or sometimes as a secondary guestroom when the parlor was overcrowded or when she had conflicting guests.
This room adjacent to the front vestibule is where Fumiko’s editors sat waiting for her manuscripts. Lots of editors came in and out one after another from around ten in the morning. Rumors have it that a few, very close editors who Fumiko liked were invited to wait in the living room.
This room, furnished with a heated kotatsu table, hanging cupboards, a bult-in Shinto altar and many drawers, had full amenity to create a close family atmosphere. Whenever her family gathered around the table, Fumiko’s mother, Kiku would always sit on a big cushion in front of the main alcove post.
Fumiko loved housework. She cooked for the family and made homemade pickles whenever she could snatch a few hours from work. She was good at cooking up nibbles for close guests. Fumiko was particularly proud of her kitchen floor and sink made of polished artificial stone.
While the courtyard divided their house into two buildings, it also connected them. The bathroom facing the courtyard had a sunken tub to allow easy entry. The tub was made entirely of cypress wood. Fumiko’s concepts on house-making are reflected in these spaces, as well as in other areas throughout the house including the kitchen floor, kitchen sink, toilet and washroom floors and designs.
This room was initially built as Fumiko’s study, but she moved her workspace into the back storeroom, saying that this room was too bright to work in. Since then, this room was used as a bedroom for her husband, Ryokubin and their son, Tai. When Tai reached school age, the three of them ate breakfast together in this room.
The anteroom initially had no entrance of its own and was accessed directly from the corridor behind the library. A new entrance and a veranda facing the courtyard were built later, and Fumiko sometimes drank a glass of chilled sake on this veranda in the morning. The freestanding futon closet was custom-made by a carpenter and was upholstered using Indian silk as per her instructions.
The library with a shoin-style screen window was interconnected with the anteroom and bedroom. To meet Fumiko’s request, the three rooms were aligned to allow airflow in the North-South direction. The library floor was a step lower than the anteroom floor, and Fumiko kept a hidden safe in this room. There was also a small ceremonial teahouse in the back yard.
This room, ordinally built as a storeroom, soon became Fumiko’s study. As it was designed as a storage space, the room was conveniently furnished with a clothes closet and cupboards. Yet, the room was far more sophisticated than a mere storage with the long eaves and the view of the small northern garden through the half-closed shoji screens beyond the corridor.
When Fumiko got absorbed in her writing, she would take off her very strong glasses for short sight and write with her face almost pressed to the table.
On finishing a piece of work, she would clean the room herself. She rarely allowed others to touch things in her room.
While Fumiko was alive, the entire garden was planted with Moso bamboos. After her death, the bamboos were gradually cut. And then, only the patches in front of the parlor windows now remain. Fumiko also planted various trees that she loved, including camellia, pomegranate, kalmia and maple.
Ten years ago, I built this house where it now stands.
I never imagined that building my own house in my life, but then I absolutely had to move out of the house I’d been renting for 8 years, so whenever I had the time I walked around looking for a house to rent. At first I thought I’d like to live in the downtown area of Yanaka, but look as I might, I couldn’t find a house I liked. Then on second thoughts, I found it hard to leave this Shimo-Ochiai area that I had become so used to, and I began to think that it would be nice to get a piece of land in this area and build a little house. Luckily, I was able to find this plot of 300 tsubo (900 square meters) through the mediation of Mr. Yoshio Furuya’s grandmother. As finding the money to build the house was difficult, despite I had to move out, a year went by before we could start construction. In that time, first I read nearly 200 reference books on how to build a house and gained a rough idea on what I wanted and the knowledge on timber, tiles and carpentry.
I wanted to choose a first-class carpenter.
First, I drew up a plan of my house and asked architect, Mr. YAMAGUCHI Bunzo to review the elevations of the land. He worked on the designs over and over again for more than a year. My most important concept for my house was that it should allow air passing through from all directions. I didn’t want to spend money on the guest parlor, but insisted on lavishing more than enough on the living room, bathroom, toilet and kitchen.
Even so, we didn’t have the money saved up for building the house so it was kind of a gamble, but it was to be my home for life so it was really important to make it a sweet and beautiful house. To begin with, based on the knowledge I gained from my reference books I wanted to find a superior carpenter, so I spent months studying the works of many candidates that were introduced to me.
HAYASHI Fumiko (1903-1951)
HAYASHI Fumiko was born in Moji, Kitakyushu City (some say in Shimonoseki) to parents who were itinerant traders.
She spent her formative years in Onomichi. Harboring aspirations of becoming an author, she moved to Tokyo in 1922.
Despite moving from job to job and lodging to lodging, she struggled forward on the path to becoming a writer.
Her novel Hōrōki (Diary of Vagabond), based on the difficult period she had endured since coming to Tokyo, was published by Kaizosha in 1930. Its success launched her into the echelon of popular writers.
Fumiko moved to Ochiai the same year, and after moving twice more, built her own house in 1941, spending the last ten years of her life there.
Her home in Ochiai was the focal point of a happy family environment, and it was while living there that Fumiko wrote many of her most famous works, including Uzushio, Bangiku (Late Chrysanthemum), and Ukigumo (Floating Clouds).
1903 Born on December 31 (according to family register) at then 555 Komorie, Moji-shi, Fukuoka Prefecture. Exact date of birth unknown.
1914 11 After living in Shimonoseki, Nagasaki, Sasebo and other places, she transferred to an elementary school in Kagoshima in October. Lived with her grandmother and mother’s niece for a while, then, traveled from place to place with her parents.
1916 13 Settled with her family in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture in May. Transferred to Dai-ni Onomichi Elementary School (now Tsuchido Elementary School) on June.
1918 15 Graduated from Dai-ni Onomichi Elementary School in Match. Entered Onomichi Girl’s High School in April.
1922 19 Graduated from Onomichi Girl’s High School in March. Moved to Tokyo on April.
1924 21 Returned to Onomichi for a while after the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923), but returned to Tokyo alone. Drifted from job to job. Founded a poetry magazine Futari with poet, TOMOYA Shizue. Her poem, Joko no Utaeru was published in magazine Bungei Sensen.
1925 22 Moved from Dogenzaka in Shibuya to Taishido and then to Seta in Setagaya.
1926 23 Roomed with HIRABAYASHI Taiko. Met TEZUKA Ryokubin and Started to live together.
1927 24 Moved to Koenji in Suginami in January, then to Asaka Koen (Asakaen) near Wada Horinouchi Myohoji Temple.
1928 25 Aki ga Kitanda – Hōrōki, published in magazine Nyonin Geijitsu in October, received recognition.
1929 26 Published her first poetry collection Aouma o Mitari in June. Kyushu Tankougai Hōrōki was published in magazine Kaizo in October.
1930 27 Moved to 850 Miwa, Kami-Ochiai, Ochiai-cho, Toyotama-gun (now Kami-ochiai in Shinjuku) in May. Hōrōki, published by Kaizosha in August became bestseller.
1931 28 Left for a tour of Europe in November. Stayed mainly in Paris.
1932 29 Returned from Europe in June. Rented and moved to a Western style house as 4-2133 Shimo-Ochiai on August.
1938 35 Dispatched to Shanghai in September as member of drafted military writers, Pen Corps.
1939 36 Purchased land as 4-2096-24 Shimo-Ochiai in December. Started construction of a new house.
1941 38 Moved into the new house in August.
1943 40 Adopted a newborn boy in December and named him Tai.
1944 41 On April, evacuated to Kanbayashi Onsen and then to Kakuma Onsen in Honami-mura, Shimotakai-gun in Nagano Prefecture.
1945 42 Returned home from wartime evacuation.
1947 44 Uzushio was carried in the Mainichi newspaper series in August.
1948 45 Bangiku was published in magazine Bungeishunju Extra in November.
1949 46 Awarded 3rd Women’s Literary Prize for Bangiku. Ukigumo was published first in magazine Fūsetsu and later in magazine Bungakukai.
1951 47 Meshi was carried in the Asahi newspaper series in April. On June 27, after returning home from gathering material for her serial article in magazine Shufu no Tomo, Fumiko retired to rest in her study after 11 p.m.. Soon she suffered intense pain and passed away at around 1 a.m. on the 28. Cause of death was heart failure.
Her funeral service, headed by Nobel Prize-winning nobelist KAWABATA Yasunari, took place at her home on July 1. posthumous Buddhist name is Juntokuin Fuyou Seibi Taishi. Buried on August 15 at Banshoin Kounji Temple located 4 Kamitakada in Nakano.