Sitting at a wooden table in the glass-enclosed sun room of the miraculously preserved 95-year-old Yasuda House, Sumiko Enbutsu, a very youthful 78, radiates enthusiasm.

The house, a superb example of Taisho Era architecture and construction techniques, is now owned by the Japan National Trust. But for over 70 years it was the residence of members of the Yasuda family, of the Yasuda financial conglomerate. Enbutsu, together with other concerned citizens, helped save it from the wrecking ball over 15 years ago.

"This house is a great source of inspiration for me," she says. "Our recent sashimono exhibit here was a tremendous success."