Takahashi in Okayama, Japan -Part 4-
Other places to see in Takahashi (2)
Built in 1889, thanks to donations from Christians.
This is the oldest church in Okayama prefecture.
In Takahashi, Christian missions were started in 1879, and Christianity rapidly developed after Jou Niijima visited the city the next year.
– About Jou Niijima –
Jou Niijima was the person who established the predecessor of the present Doushisha University in Kyoto.
He stowed away on a ship to America in 1864 when he was 21, and came back to Japan in 1874 as a missionary.
During that period, he went around USA and eight countries in Europe for about a year to research educational systems as a member of Iwakura Embassy sent by the Japanese government.
He concluded that people who had developed and supported the Western Civilization were self-sustaining Christians, who understood democracy.
So, if these kind of Japanese individuals could be nurtured through education, it would be possible to achieve modernization in Japan.
A former elementary school built in 1904, and now it’s designated as an important cultural property by Takahashi city.
About 3000 photos and daily used items during periods from the Edo era to the beginning of the Shouwa era.
As you can imagine, it’s quite crammed inside, a bit of a mess.
There are exhibits including furniture, machines and “Takase-bune” (a sailing boat for rivers and shallow waters).
[Merchant house museum (The Ikegami residence)]
When I visited this house in 2010, it was a museum.
According to the official website, it’s now open as a place to rest since November 1 in 2012.
I could see the former “Shouyu” (soy sauce) factory there, but I don’t know if it’s still open to public.
The Ikegami family started to sell daily goods in the Kyouhou period (1716 – 1735).
Then the family had increased their properties also as a money exchanger and a ship owner.
In 1895, the master began to produce “Shouyu”, and that brought the family a fortune.
They stopped their “Shouyu” business in 1962.
The present house was rebuilt in 1843 after the fire, and partly reconstructed in the Taisho period.
[Shouren-ji (Shouren temple)]
Its appearance is more of a castle rather than a temple.
It was impossible to build a new castle and very difficult even to restore an old one under the government law in the Edo period, so Katsutaka Mizunoya, the owner of the Bicchuu Matsuyama castle at that time, built this “temple” as a fortress in 1657.
– Yubeshi –
“Yubeshi” is a Japanese confection using “mochi” (rice cake) and usually “yuzu” (a citrus fruit).
Like “kibi-dango”, there are local variants.
In Okayama, “yubeshi” is produced at two places, Takahashi and Yakage.
There are “yubeshi” shops which have been in business for more than 100 years in both areas, but products are not the same.
Shapes of Takahashi “yubeshi” are various – plate, stick, knot, dice and so on.
Takahashi “yubeshi” is a mix of dried peels of “yuzu” which are crushed into powders, “mochi” powders, sugar and other ingredients.
After the dough is kneaded and steamed, it’s cooled and dried, then cut into pieces.
I bought (the cheapest) one for myself at a kiosk in the Takahashi station, and to be honest, its taste was only so-so for me because I don’t like the taste of yuzu very much.
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