Sankenma is located on the hilltop road known as Hatsune-no-michi. In the Edo-era this street was part of Kanno Temple’s surrounding town and was lined with merchant houses and workshops. From the Meji era, the neighborhood was known as Yanaka Hatsune 1-chome. The name is no longer officially used but lives on as the name of neighborhood association. The house was built in 1919. Throughout the Showa-era, Sankenma was a stationer and general store. Around the end of the era, the store closed and it became a quiet private residence.
In 2002, the owner changed, giving the chance for young people wanting to to experience the lifestyle of a traditional machiya house. Half a year later, the Taito Cultural and Historical Society entered into a fixed term rental contract with the landlord, forming the basis of the house as a cooperative space to be shared by residents and users.
A two-storey (Japanese) house in the tradition of merchant houses in Edo area, the three spanned spaces of the machiya open to the street, revealing the richness of the surrounding temple town. For this reason, it was given the name Sankenma. The first floor shop and living room and common area combined with the high-ceilinged Japanese rooms on the second floor make it a typical modern machiya of Tokyo. The roof, though originally tiled, is now metal.
In 2003 the plumbing and foundation were repaired and a shower was added. Two years later, part of the wooden floored shop was restored to the traditional sunken earth floor and the wood used to make a new cafe kitchen to make it easier for people to gather. The wood from the floor was used to make the new counter and other materials from the neighborhood houses were used in the restoration. The reconstruction and improvement of the house was carried out by specialists, while the cleaning and simpler building were done by the residents and people asssociated with the house. The shopkeeper members also participated in the basic maitnence and repar of the house.
A house opening onto the street. How to best make a contemporary neighborhood? For people who appreciate life in traditional houses to devise ways to bring visitors and the Yanaka community together. Our hope is for Sankenma to be a place that brings together people and the neighborhood, for various people of all ages to come together and relax.
The first floor’s tatami rooms and earthen floor open to the street formaing a relaxing space. Using the house’s original furniture and house wares, the space becomes a cafe on weekends, also selling specialty tea and other goods.
Sun potter cafe nonbiriya
Open: Fri, Sat, Sun, Public Holidays 11:00〜23:00
Address：6-1-29 Yanaka, Taito-ku, Tokyo, 110-0001 Japan（Map）