Zourokuen is the estate of the owner of a 'kitamaesen', one of the largest ships trading in the Sea of Japan from the Edo to mid-Meiji period.
Most of the owners of kitamaesen were Oumi merchants, but were also employed as captains. These merchants built and commanded the kitamaesen, playing an active part in trade with Ezo (today's Hokkaido).
As trade flourished, the merchants left the boats to the mariners of Kaga, Echizen and Wakasa. The captains of the kitamaesen were able to prosper as accomplished merchants, having gained experience and business acumen.
Zourokuen comprises the residence and garden of the Saketani family, who had prospered in business. Their wealth is apparent in the buildings, its contents and the garden. The total area of the residence is about 1,000 tsubo (3,300m3). The total floor space of the lacquered mansion alone is about 300 tsubo (991.7m3).
Exhibits in the warehouse include ancient documents, pottery (such as Kutani porcelain), yoshidaya, the miyamotoya-hachiro-akae, and the Matsuyama kiln.
Approximately 500 kinds of Yamano grass grow wild in the garden of Enshuryu, and meiseki (ancient stones) from all over the country are positioned around the garden, creating a beautiful view.