Saturday, July 9, 2022

Yoshii Juku Historic Preservation District

 

The last post town on the Hita Kaido, or the first if you are leaving Hita and traveling west, was Yoshii, now a part of Ukiha.


Compared to Kusano, the former post town I have been showing you the last week or so, there is much more of Yoshii still remaining


So much, in fact,  that the area has been registered as a historical preservation district one of the topics I became intrigued by in recent years.


In the mid 17th century a canal was constructed to bring water from the nearby Chikugo River and this vastly increased the productivity of the agriculture in the area.


Around the same time a post station was established here, and the combination of both factors led to the growth and prosperity of the town.


The town suffered from three major fires, and so in the late 19th century, after the last big fire, the residents and merchants used white plaster to fireproof their buildings, leading to the appearance of "shirakabe", literally white walls, a common feature of many wealthy merchant districts in historical Japan.


Many of these preserved shirakabe streets are located in touristy areas and include many gift shops and other touristy establishments, but Yoshii is far enough off the beaten track that it appears more authentic.


The road from Yoshii ran along the south bank of the river into Hita, but just across the river was the main road that ran from Fukuoka to Hita, so some used that route.


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