Kikusui-kan (Old Honjin)

Kikusui-kan is a building that Akita’s feudal Satake Family used during the feudal government period to stay in while traveling for alternate attendance. Honjin was an officially appointed inn for those of high social status. Although the building itself was ordinary looking, it was covered by a magnificent, thatched roof. That alone deserved an honorific name of Gohonjin. This inn used to be in Yokozawa (Ōta Town) but was moved to the present site around 1681–1688.
On the east side of the corridor was a room for the feudal lord and space for him to receive his retainers and the general public. On the west, was a grand chamber of approximately 130 m2 as well as a storehouse.
The inn was officially handed over to a group of interested people in Omagari and was named Kikusui-kan by Takagaki Shigeaki (a Sinologist and the first principal of Omagari Elementary School). The name comes from the Mariko River (commonly known as the Maruko River) as kiku uses the same kanji for mari, and sui means water.
Kikusui-kan was used as a temporary school and office by the Omagari Elementary School, Omagari Courthouse, and Senboku District Office. It was also a place for gatherings like today’s young men’s associations. Thus, the building was a base for Omagari’s cultural movements.
Since the late 19th century, Kikusui-kan has become an inn where many prominent figures visiting Omagari stay, such as calligraphers Kusakabe Meikaku, Iwaya Ichiroku, and Kanai Yukiyasu.
A great haiku poet, Kawahigashi Hekigodō, stayed here in 1907 and left a haiku:
寂然と 居るも艶なる 夜寒かな (Even in a quiet life, the cold in the late fall makes it tasteful. )
In the Showa era, Kikusui-kan turned into a home for evacuated children during World War II and for repatriates after the war. Its architecture was considered valuable, and the building was designated as an Important Cultural Property of Akita in 1953. However, it had deteriorated to such an extent that the designation was removed in 1968. It was demolished, and was missed by many citizens. This historic Kikusui-kan is now replicated as the Daisen Industrial Pavilion.