Showing posts with label Museum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Museum. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Kakuro Tatara Museum

Japan Museums

Tatara are the traditional type of forge used to smelt iron in historical Japan. They used charcoal and iron sand rather than coal and iron ore.

The first iron used in Japan was all imported from the Korean countries on the peninsula, which begs the question what they paid for this fundamental resource. One historian suggests mercenaries which would make sense of the Japanese military involvement on the peninsula in ancient times.

Later iron sand was discovered and so domestic production of iron began using tatara forges, the technique also having been introduced from the Asian mainland.

The Chugoku mountains and especially the Okuizumo area became the centre of iron and steel production for ancient Japan until the late 19th century when the more efficient western techniques of iron production using coal and ore were introduced.

This former tatara high up in the Chugoku mountains was actually not built until the 1930's. It was built next to an Edo period tatara that closed down in 1911. It is a kind of hybrid forge, utilizing a mix of traditional and modern techniques. It is close to where the Sakurai family, a high-ranking samurai family that controlled some of the iron production in the region.

The museum is free to enter and has plenty of information, in Japanese, about the technology as well as numerous mannequins showing scenes..... The bellows were operated by water power.

During the 1930's the US began to apply sanctions against Japan because of the invasion of China.... these sanctions eventually included all export of iron and scrap iron to Japan, which suggests that this tatara was created to improve the situation for Japan. It ceased operating in 1945.

Ema Votive Plaques

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Kusano Juku Hita Kaido Post Town


Kusano, a little east of Kurume, was in the Edo period a post town on the main road known as the Hita Kaido, sometimes the Bungo Kaido. This is the former Kage family residence, built in 1780, the oldest building now in Kusano.

This second photo shows just how deep their property was compared to the frontage.

The road runs along the edge of the Mino mountain range. Most settlements were snuggled against the bottom of mountains, hence their names as "yamanobe"

This old house of a less wealthy family is now a cafe and gallery.

The local history museum is housed in the former bank, a western-style building painted pale blue like the nearby culture centre.

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Izushi Samurai Mansion


Called Izushi Karo yashiki on the tourist maps, this is the only remaining samurai residence in the former castle town of Izushi in northern Hyogo.

Located close to where the castle stood, the area where the highest-ranked samurai resided, it is now open as a museum displaying artifacts connected to the ruling clan of Izushi.

Though it looks like a single storey structure, it actually has a low second floor, a much remarked upon feature in the explanations about the house.

It is located next to the town tourist information office, and close to the castle ruins and the main street, so gets a lot of visitors.

It very much looks and feels like a museum rather than a residence, and architecturally it is nothing noteworthy, but its worth a visit for the displays....

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Nima Sand Museum Interior


These shots were all taken inside the largest pyramid at the Sand Museum in Nima, Shimane.

Suspended above your head is the largest sand timer in the world, the main attraction of the museum.

The #hourglass" itself is 6 meters tall and one meter wide and contains almost one full ton of fine sand which takes a year to pass through the narrow aperture.

On new years eve every year the sandtime is lowered to the floor and at midnight is rotated so that the sand starts to flow again.

Other artworks connected with sand and a variety of events have been tried over the years to popularize the museum, but most visitors seem more attracted to the architecture.

I suspect the place is not making any money at all and I am sure it will not be able to stay open too much longer, though the proximity to the World Heritage sites of Iwami Ginzan may supply enough viitors to forestall that event.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Nima Sand Museum

Nima Sand Museum Japan

Nima Sand Museum.

I have posted on the Nima Sand Museum before, but it was a long time ago, and the posts no longer have photos. It is one of the local architectural attractions that hasn't closed down, though I believe it is not making money.


A nearby beach, Kthahama, is famous for having "singing sand", that is to say it squeaks when walked on. The local mayor decided this was a good enough reason to oen a unique museum devoted to sand.

Nima Sand Museum.

The museum is toed with a series of glass pyramids which make it easy to spot when passing nearby. In fact it is said that the architect made the tallest pyramid tall enough so that it could be seen from his mother's grave.


Shin Takamatsu is one of my favorite Japanese architects, and being a local man Shimane has quite a few of his buildings, which often feature simple geometric forms, though the structure closest to this one is probably Seirei, a Buddhist "chapel" near Osaka.


If you are wondering what a sand museum could display, the answer is "not a lot". Its main feature is the worlds largest sand timer, which I will show next.

Nima Sand Museum.

I visited at the end of my third day walking the Iwami 33 Kannon pilgrimage. Day 4 would see me heading up from Nima into Iwami Ginzan.


Tuesday, March 29, 2022

A Brief Guide to Museums of Hita

Museums of Hita 日田市

Whisky Museum

I visited Hita, a small, historic town near the border of Fukuoka in Oita, several times, the first being on day 53 of my walk around Kyushu on pilgrimage. I quite enjoyed the town and there was plenty to see in and around the Historic Preservation District, including a range of museums. The Whisky Museum was closed when I was there but it has a collection of 30,000 whiskeys and paraphernalia that have been collected by the owner since he was 13. If alcohol is your thug then there is a sake museum in the local brewery.

Museum in Hita.
Museum in Hita

In the Mamedamachi historic district, there are half a dozen small museums in the old houses and storehouses, including the Hirose Museum, and the Tenryo Hita Museum.

Exhibits include artifacts from wealthy merchants, the samurai bureaucrats who ran the town, and folk art and such.

Not to be missed is the Hita Gion Museum which houses the huge floats used in the towns Gion Festival, as well as other matsuri-related  objects and artworks.

There is a modern museum housing exhibits connected to the famous private academy, Kangien, and its founder , Hirose Tanso. Adjacent to the museum are two remaining buildings of the academy from the Edo period, Shufuan, and Enshiro.

The most popular museum I suspect is the Hina Doll Museum with its collection of more than 4,000 hina dolls, but it also has a few other historical displays not doll-related.

Shop Japan

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Enshiro at Kangien in Hita

Japan Guide

Enshiro is a small, two-story building built in 1849 as a study. It is one of only two buildings remaining from the Edo Period privatye school in Hita known as Kangien. The other building is the older, larger former residence known as Shufuan which I recently posted about.

It is said that Enshiro was the favorite study of the founder of Kangien, Hirose Tanso, during his later years.

Hirose Tanso (1782 - 1856) was born in Hita, the eldest son of a wealthy merchant family in the town. However, being a sickly child, the family business was taken over by his younger brother and he devoted himself to study.

He studies under the Neo-Confucian scholar, Nanmei Kamei, in Fukuoka before returning home to Hta and opening his own academy.

His academy, which he renamed Kangien in 1817, became very popular and drew students from all over japan, and at times had 200 students, including a few females, studying and staying in large dormitories.

Kangien continued operating after Hirose Tanso's death, and eventually closed down in 1897. Its most famous graduates include Chouei Takano, Masujiro Omira, Hikoma Ueno, Shigyoku Nagshima, and Sanshu Chou.

Goods from Japan delivered to your home or business

Monday, February 28, 2022

Kuncho Sake Brewery & Museum

Sake 酒

Just about every town in Japan, large or small, has at least one sake brewery.

In Hita the biggest, Kuncho Shuzo Sake Brewery is located on the edge of Mamedamachi, the historic preservation district of the old town.

To get to the brewery's museum you walk through the front part of the brewery past the huge pots that cook the rice for the sake.

The "museum" is actually just the huge attic space filled with old barrels and assorted , mostly wooden, tools and equipment, some of which is labeled

It's quite a big space, filled with stuff, and would eprhaps be interesting to some.

They have a big shop with a wide range of sakes and masu cups available. Unfortunately, I am not a fan of sake, nor of most alcohol, so I can't comment on its quality.

Wild Japan