Date: 21st November 2018
When I first thought about writing on Shikoku Mura, I knew it was not going to be completed in one post, though I did not expect to cover it in 4 posts either! Well, we are finally at the last part – thank you to those who have been reading. In case you have not checked them out, the following were covered in the first 3 parts of this small “series”.
Part 1: A tomariya, the Iya Vine Bridge, the Shodoshima’s Kabuki Theatre, boar fences, the Yamashita Family House, and the Kono Family House
Part 2: A Satoshime Goya (sugar mill), Nanyo Chado (tea hall), a lighthouse, and a row of lighthouse keeper’s residences
Part 3: A Kozo Mushigoya (bark-steaming hut), the Shimoki Family House, a Sozu Karausu (water-powered rice mill), the Residence of Master Kume, the Nakaishi Family House, and the Marugame Domain Official Rice Warehouse
Lets start with the arched stone bridge which was built in 1901 by Yonekichi and Yojiro which is the only bridge in Japan with this design. You can walk underneath the bridge.
Next is the Misaki no Giso (Misaki Granary) built in 1819 in Tosashimizu in Kochi Prefecture under the guidance of its village chief – Oki Ichizaemon. These granaries which was used to store surplus harvests in preparation for times of famine were established in Japan in the Nara period, but was then discontinued before it was revived during the Edo period. This granary was continued to be in use until the 1940s when it was abandoned, leading to its deterioration. In 1993, the granary was moved to Shikoku Mura for reparations and conservation. Despite the many granaries during the Edo period, the Misaki Granary is one of the few remaining surviving examples of this type of building.
The next building was particularly big and occupies one far-end of the village. The Sanuki Province (present Kagawa Prefecture) is known for its soy sauce since the Edo period which continued until today. The shoyugura (soy sauce warehouse) was from a brewery in Hiketa town in Higashikagawa city of Kagawa Prefecture, which was continued to be in use until the Edo period (read this article on the soy sauce from Hiketa).
This warehouse was used for both storing and producing soy sauce while an additional building was added during the Meiji period to store the fermenting ingredients. You can see huge wooden vats in the warehouse here dating to 1836 which was used to ferment raw materials and pressing and storing the finished product.
On the way back to the main pathway was an ishigura (stone storehouse) from Shodoshima built in 1915 by Fujiwara Heitaro which resembles a Hoanden (official gallery containing photographs of the Emperor). This stone storehouse is made of Inada granite from Ibaraki Prefecture with iron doors and a flat roof.
The Maeda-ke Dozo (Storehouse of the Maeda Family) was originally located on the coast of Kochi Prefecture, given by Maeda Masanori. The main function of these storehouses were for fire protection in which the building was built with fine insulating qualities making it highly resistant to fires. The Maeda crest is clearly displayed above the ventilation window, a display of the powerful pride of the family.
Next to the Maeda Family’s Storehouse is the Marugame-han Bansho (Border Guardhouse of the Marugame Domain) dating back to the 18th century. During the Edo period, unauthorised travels between domains were forbidden and checkpoints were established along traffic routes for inspections. The Marugame-han Bansho served as a guardhouse at the border between Sanuki Province (current Kagawa Prefecture) and Iyo Province (current Ehime Prefecture). The roof is covered with hongawara tiles and the eaves-end are marked with the Marugame crest. In front of the building is a stone marker which says “From this point, you are in Marugame territory”.
The second last structure is a fisherman’s house (ryoushi no ie) belonging to the Yoshino family from a remote fishing village in Izari, Tokushima Prefecture. Stone walls were fenced on the sea side serving as a windbreaker, and the entryway is also narrow to keep out wind and rain. The waters in Izari was once plentiful of yellowtails (buri) and thus the village decided to purchase big nets used by large commercial fisheries to increase their catch. However, after the purchase has been made, the yellowtails moved to another region, leaving the village in a huge debt. This fisherman’s house moved to Shikoku Mura in its original condition due to the financial restrictions the fishermen faced to upgrade their houses.
Walking to the exit is a western-style house dating back to the Meiji Period in 1906 originally from Kobe (isn’t this Shikoku Mura though?). This was the residence of Mrs. Wasa Down, which now serves as a tea-room / cafe in Shikoku Mura. The interior of this house is distinctive of the architecture of Kobe during the early 20th century.
After spending nearly two hours here and since the bus to Yashima Sanjo is not scheduled to arrive anytime soon, I decided to take a break here and enjoy their wonderful toast and tea.
And that’s a wrap for this Shikoku Mura series. I hope you find this somewhat informative as it did for me and that it inspires you to make a trip here on your own.
Admission fee: 1,000 yen (definitely worth it)
Opening hours: 08:30 – 18:00 (17:30 in November till March). Last admission is one hour before closing. No closing days.
You will most likely spend a good amount of time in this massive ‘village’ (translated from ‘Mura’), so be sure to allocate ample of time if you are planning to visit.
As mentioned in my first post, there is a good amount of English labels and explanations for each structure, which was a pleasant surprise since I did not expect this after seeing the lack of foreign tourist in both Shikoku and Yashima.
The nearest train stations to Shikoku Mura are the Kotoden Yashima Station (5-10 mins walk), and the JR Yashima Station (15 mins walk).
How to get to Kotoden-Yashima Station:
- From Kotoden Kawaramachi Station, take the Kotoden Shido line (15 mins, 240 yen)
How to get to JR Yashima Station:
- From Takamatsu Station, take JR Kotoku Line (16 mins, 220 yen)
- From Tokushima Station, take JR Kotoku Line (2 hours, 1,280 yen). The Limited Express JR Uzushio will cut down the travel time from Tokushima by an hour, but would cost 2,980 yen.
If you are not keen on walking, you can even take the Kotoden bus from any of these stations (timetable here) @ 100 yen (10 mins from JR Yashima Station and 2 mins from Kotoden Yashima Station). The same bus will make a stop at Yashima Sanjo, thus making it a good combined trip.
Want to explore Shikoku with good rail passes? Try the All Shikoku Rail Pass available for 3 days, 4 days, 5 days, and 7 days which allows travels on not only JR Shikoku trains but also the Kotoden, Iyotetsu, Tosaden, Tosa Kuroshio Railway and the Asa Kaigan Railway. Read more about it here.