Showing posts with label akinada. Show all posts
Showing posts with label akinada. Show all posts

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.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Isonomiya Hachiman Shrine Takehara


Founded originally at the end of the 12th Century as a branch of Usa Hachimangu to be a tutelary shrine for the Goto family, powerful retainers of the Kamakura Shigunate, it was moved to its current location in the mid 17th Century.

It appears to be the most popular shrine in the town. It has the remains of a nice pond and garden, and a memorial to Karasaki Hitachinosuke, a local man who suggested reverence towards imperial ruke in the mid Edo period.

In the Meiji period the government trawled through historical records to find any instances that could be interpreted as historical support for imperial rule, and memorials and shrines to such figures, including of course emperors were constructed. History was very much rewritten after 1868.

As a Hachiman Shrine the main deity is Ojin along with, usually, his mother Jingu, and then either his wife or his father.

There are numerous other kami enshrined here including a large collection housed in a "terrace" of small shrines. The main hall is made of concrete.

The previous post on this series was the Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery Takehara

Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery Takehara

Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery Takehara.

At the northern end of the historic district of Takehara in Hiroshima is the former sake brewery of Fujii Shuzo.

Fujii Shuzo Sake Brewery Takehara.

Founded in 1863, the company is still making sake but at a different location.

The former brewery buildings are now a tourist attraction.

The former brewery buildings are now a tourist attraction with some historic exhibits connected to sake making and a shop selling local crafts and souvenirs.

The former brewery buildings are now a tourist attraction.

It is possible to taste the different sakes and buy them. There is also a soba noodle restaurant within the premises.

The former brewery buildings are now a tourist attraction.


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Takehara City Museum of History & Folklore

Takehara City Museum of History & Folklore

The Takehara City Museum of History & Folklore is located in a two-storey, pale blue, western-style building in the middle of the historical district.

The museum is located in a two-storey, pale blue, western-style building in the middle of the historical district.

The building was built in 1929 and was the Takehara Shoin Library. It became a museum in 1980. Takehara Shoin was a Confucian academy on this site in the latter half of the Edo period.


Local history and folklore museums in Japan are a mixed bag. Some are excellent and free, some are expensive and quite boring, and many fall in between the two extremes...... this one is average.

It's free, so that can't be bad, although I now read that the second floor exhibition now includes a 200 yen charge.

This is because since I visited NHK has aired a wildly popular drama, Massan, about the "father" of Japanese Whiskey, Masataka Taketsuru, and his Scottish wife. He was born here in Takehara and it is said he used the library. There is now a statue of the couple in front of the museum and I suspect the second floor is devoted to him.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Takehara in 2D


This is the latest in a series of posts on traditional Japanese architecture where I look at proportion, ratio, and composition in two dimensions,.... the division of 2d space, one aspect of aesthetics, the theories of beauty.

This time the photos are from Takehara a small town on the south coast of Hiroshima that was a major merchant town during the Edo period. It is one of what I term "preservation districts" but which are officially termed "groups of traditional buildings".

For a closer look at some of the buildings of Takehara with their interiors and gardens, I suggest looking at the Morikawa mansion and its gardens, the Kasai residence,

As well as the geometry of the architecture, I am also intrigued by the composition of the decoration, that is to say, things like the arrangement of noren curtains and other objects in the front of buildings.

Objects made of bamboo are particularly common in Takehara, not surprising given its name.

Similar posts you might be interested in are the small town of Hita in Oita, or Omori in Iwami Ginzan, or the castle town of Izushi in Hyogo.

I will be doing a couple of more posts on Takehara, and some more posts on these kinds of photograhic composition.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Saihoji Temple Fumeikaku


The Fumeikaku hall is one of the landmarks of the historical town of Takehara on the coast of Hiroshima.

It's part of Saijoji Temple, a large complex on the hillside overlooking the old town. Originally a Zen temple, it was converted to the Jodo sect after rebuilding following a fire in 1602. It shares a name with Saihoji - the Moss Temple - in Kyoto.

A long, curved, walled stairway offers great views over the bell tower and the grey, tiled roofscape of the Historic Preservation District which is commonly classified as a "Little Kyoto", consequently, the stairway has been used in numerous movies and TV shows.

The vermillion-colored Fumeikaku was built in 1758 and was modeled on the famous Kiyomizudera in Kyoto. It houses the honzon of the temple, an 11-faced Kannon.

There are other things to see at the temple, as there are around Takehara, and I quite recommend a visit.

Friday, February 4, 2022

Kasai Residence & Garden

Kasai Residence & Garden

Takehara, on the coast of Hiroshima, is one of those towns with a well-preserved section of the old town that have been recognized as preservation districts.

Some of the old buildings are open to the public. Earlier I posted about the Morikawa Residence and its garden.

I'm pretty sure this is the former Kasai Residence, a well-to-do merchant family, though not as wealthy as the Morikawas

I came late to an appreciation of traditional Japanese architecture and gardens, and so I didn't take as many photos nor notice so much back when I visited Takehara.

Most visitors pass through Takehara on their way to visit Rabbit Island", a mecca for those seeking cute. For those with those who appreciate the traditional, Takehara offers a combined ticket which gives reduced entry prices to several of the old houses in the town.

Ema Votive Plaques