Saturday, July 22, 2023

Hizen Hamashuku Thatched Roof Townscape


Hizen Hamashuku, now a part of Kashima City in Saga, lies along the Hama River. On the north bank of the river, along what was in the Edo Period a fairly main highway, is a historic preservation district, Sakagura Street, with many historic buildings and numerous sake breweries.

However, on the south bank of the river, a little closer to the mouth where it enters the Ariake Sea, is another small preservation district, known as a "thatched roof townscape".

Many of these preservation districts consist of preserved buildings of wealthy merchants or high-class samurai, but here was a more "working class" neighborhood with much smaller homes.

In a maze of narrow lanes lived carpenters, blacksmiths, sailors, fishermen, and merchants.

A cluster of three small homes that belonged to the Ikeda, Nakamura, and Nakajima families, have been renovated and offer a fairly unique opportunity to see some smaller, traditional buildings.

When i visited first in 2016 the houses were open and free to enter. When I went back a couple of years ago they were closed up.

There are several other thatched properties, some larger, and on my last visit I noticed lots of water hoses on top of tall posts, ready to water down the rooves in case of fire.

Unlike many of these preservation districts, there are no cafes, souvenir shops, etc, it is still just a funky, lower-class residential area, and therefore in many ways actually more authentic.

It is a short walk from the Sakakura Sake District and just a few minutes from Hizenhama JR railway station.

This was the last stop of my tour of Kashima on day 59 of my walk around Kyushu and from here I headed off down the coast.

The previous post in the series was the samurai residence nearby. Other Preservation Districts I've recently covered include Mima on Shikoku, and Tsuyama in Okayama.