The Fukiya village in Okayama, Japan -Part 1-
I’ve been posting Momotarou-related articles so far, and to be honest, I’m getting a bit tired of recalling, researching and translating old stories.
This time, I write about the Fukiya village in Okayama as an interval.
Actually, I didn’t even know the name of the village until several years ago.
I don’t remember how I got interested, but I think I saw photos on a travel brochure or something.
Since then, I’ve been there twice in the off-season.
Originally, it was a copper mine site.
People in the village just dug mines in the beginning, then they coincidentally found “Bengara” in 1707, an oxidized iron used for colouring, which was made from mine remains.
Fukiya’s “Bengara” became quite famous in the 18th century and that brought the village fortune.
Later on, the wealthy merchants in Fukiya had a talk and decided to employ “Miya-daiku” (carpenters who build Japanese traditional buildings like shrines and temples) to rebuild the village using red tiles on roof and fine lumbers such as Japanese cypress, sakura (cherry tree), etc., coloured with “Bengara”.
Now, all the mines have long since been closed, the village suffers from depopulation.
The only elementary school in the village, which was the oldest wooden school building in use in Japan, was finally closed in 2012.
How to get there
Unless you have your car, you need to take a train to “Bicchuu (pronunciation is like “BitchYou”) Takahashi” first.
From Okayama station, it takes about 1 hour (if you take the Express train, about half an hour).
Then take a bus from the bus station next to the train station.
The bus departs only 3 times a day. (In a certain period, 4 times a day)
After a 50-minute-ride to its final destination, you’ll reach “Fukiya”.
Because it’s such a small village in a mountain, the best way is on foot.
It’s only about 1.5 km (1 mile), if you stay in the village centre.
To visit the houses of wealthy merchants and/or other institutes in the surrounding area, better to have a car.
You can hire a taxi at the “Takahashi” train station.
Ask at the Tourist Information for details.
In a certain period (in 2014, April to June and September to November, on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays), there’s a cyclic bus service which goes to some of the institutes outside of the village.
Where to stay
It’s amazing there is a proper hotel in this small village.
Its appearance is a copy of the school and it was built behind the original.
I stayed here on both occasions of my visits, and there always seemed to be only a few guests including me.
Most tourists just make a day trip to the village, I suppose.
Or, perhaps there’s something to do with some secret that an old lady, who was an owner of a cafe I went, told me.
She said, “The locals suspect the hotel would suffer subsidence damage sometime future, because it’s on the digging area and the ground is almost hollow.” just after I told her where I was staying.
I don’t know if it’s true, but I think foundation investigation must have been held beforehand.
Anyway, at least I can say it was a few years ago, and the hotel is still there.
I’ll tell you what to see in the village next time.
Latest posts by kara (see all)
- Basic Japanese : “Sumimasen” – “Thank you” in Japanese - June 24, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Arigatou” – “Thank you” in Japanese - May 29, 2015
- Basic Japanese : “Go-chisou sama” – Phrase after meal - May 27, 2015
Dazaifu Tenman-guu : To the main shrine On the way to the shrine from the station Like “Konpira-guu” in Kagawa, there are many shops and restaurants on either side of the street to the shrine. – “Ume ga e mochi” or “Ume ga ya mochi” – One of Dazaifu specialties. It’s a sort of “baked […]
“Love planted a rose, and the world turned sweet”. — Katharine Lee Bates Who doesn’t love roses? Especially among the ladies, roses have a very sweet spot in our hearts. Even just a single stem of a red rose could evoke a whole lot of emotions. Fukuyama City, Hiroshima – Japan’s City of Roses For rose […]
Since grade school, I always like science museums. Learning outside the four corners of the classroom or beyond the books and wiki pages I read is fun and more exciting than sitting for hours. Interactivity is the key here. It is because I learn and remember more when I can use more than one of […]
Yes, march is already ending today and the winter chill has slowly abated making way for spring, but if you still can’t get enough of winter and you want to prolong that winter holiday feeling, head over to Mie Prefecture and visit Nabana no Sato on the island of Nagashima in Kuwana City. Nabana no […]
First of all, Kagawa is a name of a prefecture in Japan and has nothing to do with a Japanese footballer Kagawa. Konpira in Kagawa Konpira-guu or Kotohira-guu is one of the well-known shrines in Japan. Often people affectionately call it as “Konpira-san”. The word “Konpira” came from the Sanskrit, “Kumbhira”. I couldn’t find any […]
Bizen Osafune Japanese sword museum (2) In this post, I’m going to introduce the rest of the craftsmen from the craft centre – “nu-shi”, “tsuka-maki-shi” and “choukin-shi” / “tsuba-shi”, the museum and the official website. [“Nu-shi” (lit. coating master)] “Nu-shi” coats a scabbard for “koshirae” (decorative scabbard) with Japanese lacquer. The only craftsman I […]
This was my second time in Himeji. The first was 4 years earlier in spring to see Himeji Castle. This time around, we went to Taiyo Park. Not many know about this place since its in a remote area with no bus/train stops nearby. We went there by car so no biggie. The Park Entrance […]
There are many beautiful places you could go for a visit or sightseeing all over Japan. Almost every prefecture has developed and maintained some historical, cultural or natural spots not only for tourists but also for the Japanese people to visit with. One of the places people usually love to do sightseeing is the very […]
In my first post I shared with you my experience when I visited Go’o Shrine and Kadoya. Now I will tell you about the other 4 houses – Gokaisho, Haisha, Ishibashi and Minamidera. Gokaisho designed by Yoshihiro Suda. Gokaisho litterally means a place to meet and play go – a traditional Japanese board game. But don’t expect […]
Konpira in Kagawa (2) Konpira-inu (Konpira dog) in Konpira Shrine Beside a copper torii near “mimaya” (stable for “shinme”. See this post), there is a statue of “Konpira-inu”. I mentioned a little bit about Konpira-inu in my dog post. In the Edo era, it was hard for common people to travel from the east of […]