May 30, 2019
If you find this building has a striking resemblance to Tokyo Station Hotel, that's probably because they share a common designer in Tatsuno Kingo (辰野金吾), who co-designed this with his business partner Kasai Manji (葛西萬司).
While Tokyo Station Hotel has been heavily restored, this building, built in 1911 (4 years earlier than Tokyo Station Hotel), is now a national important cultural property which very much retains the aura when it was first built, despite the fact that it remained a functioning bank until 2012. There are 2 levels in the building, entry is mainly free of charge except for a portion which re-produce the setting when the bank began operation, a room which illustrate Iwate's financial history, and some manuscript of the building design.
Before I went, my initial impression was, having seen and stayed in Tokyo Station Hotel, what more can I expect from The Bank of Iwate Red Brick Building? But after visiting, I feel that while Tokyo Station Hotel makes you feel like the old architecture transit to our current era in vivid colours as if it is newly built, The Bank of Iwate Red Brick Building offers a projection of the world then in somewhat monochrome fashion and has a more genuine feel of the Taisho era. Notably, you probably have to pay a handsome price to stay in Tokyo Station Hotel in order to appreciate the architecture in entirety (it’s very much larger too), but right here, you can get in free just to amaze yourself with the general decor, and choose to pay ¥300 if you are interested in the premium displays. It’s worth noting that buildings like these genuinely define an era, so don’t miss it if you are in Morioka!
It's a 2km walk from Morioka station, and can also be access by 盛岡都心循環でんでん（右回り） bus from the train station, alight at 盛岡バスセンター (Morioka Bus Terminal), and walk for another 150m.
盛岡駅よりバスで10分 →「盛岡バスセンターななっく前」のバス停で下車 → 徒歩1分で 岩手銀行赤レンガ館に到着。
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