Thursday, June 1, 2023

A Brief Guide to Takehara


Takehara is a small city on the coast of Hiroshima about halfway between the major stations of Hiroshima City and Fukuyama, whose old town is a well-preserved slice of architectural history with the nickname "Little Kyoto". The city limits also include the small island of Okunoshima which in recent years has achieved fame as "Rabbit Island" but which is also home to the ruins of a former WWII poison gas factory.

Takehara grew up around the production of salt and also sake, and the main street of the old part of town is lined with merchant houses, warehouses, and wealthy farmers properties, enough of which remain for the area to be a registered Preservation District.

Some of the larger properties are open to the public as a kind of museum of former times, with some having quite delightful gardens.

The former Morikawa Family Residence is large enough to be classed a  mansion, and it has the largest gardens. Also worth a visit is the Kasai Residence and garden.

Many of the merchant properties are still in operation as stores, shops, galleries, restaurants, and cafes. Bamboo crafts are a specialty of the town as is sake. There are a few sake breweries still in operation, with one having a sake museum.

The town does have a Local History Museum with displays covering many aspects of the towns history, and a whole floor devoted to locally born Taketsuru Masatake, considered to be the father of Japanese whiskey. A 2014 tv drama series made "Massan" and his Scottish wife household names in Japan.

As with every town in Japan, there are a fair number of shrines, temples, and wayside altars. The biggest and most important shrine, Isonomiya Hachiman,  is just outside the historic district. One of the larger temples in the historic district, Saihoji, has a picturesque hall built on a platform. Fumeikaku has great views over the town.

Other Historic Preservation Districts Ive posted on include Obi, Chiran, Kitsuki, Kiragawa, Taketomi, Omori, Hita, and Izushi.

Other recent "Brief Guides" I've posted on smaller, less well-known towns and cities in west Japan include Kurume, Yamaga, and Hita, all in Kyushu.


  1. Thank you for this!

  2. I love getting these photos of rural Japan!!!