Takahashi

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Bitchu Matsuyama Castle

Takahashi (高梁市 Takahashi-shi) is a city in Okayama Prefecture in the western Chugoku region of the island of Honshu in Japan.

Understand[edit]

Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Takahashi City can be accessed via the JR Hakubi Line from Niimi (¥570) to the north and Soja (¥400), Kurashiki (¥570), and Okayama (¥820) from the south. Get off at Bitchu Takahashi Station.

By car[edit]

Route 180 passes directly through Takahashi City, so from Okayama and Soja, travel North on Route 180. From Yonago, connect to Route 180 from the Yonago West Interchange and travel south through Niimi.

From Hokuei and Kurayoshi, you can travel south on Route 313 or North from Ibara. From the West, you can reach Takahashi travelling on Route 484.

For travel to the Fukiya area, Route 85 will take you to the Bengara Village.

Get around[edit]

On foot[edit]

The area around Bitchu Takahashi Station is quite easy to navigate on foot. You can even walk to Bitchu Matsuyama Castle if you have the energy and time (1.5 hours estimated to reach the castle on foot). Many people choose to walk down from the castle and take a taxi to the top.

By taxi[edit]

Taxis are located just outside the station. For those who want to visit the castle, save time, and avoid walking up the mountain, taxis are highly recommended. It costs around ¥1300, but if you are travelling with others, the split cost makes it quite affordable.

Although taxis are a convenient and faster way to get to the Fukiya area, be aware that it is about a 40 minute drive, so the cost will be high.

By bus[edit]

If you choose to use the bus for travel to sites around the station, be aware that none of the buses go to the castle. The closest stop is at the bottom of the mountain.

For travel to the Fukiya area, take the Bihoku Bus from outside the station.

See[edit]

  • Bitchu Matsuyama Castle +81 86-622-1487. (備中松山城 Bitchū Matsuyama-jō) One of Japan's few remaining original castles, dating back to the seventeenth century, it is the only original mountain castle in the nation. It is also the highest castle, built atop Mount Gagyu. Although you can take a taxi up most of the mountain, there is a point at which you must walk up (as no vehicles are allowed on the path leading to the castle). The ascent to the castle will take you through the well-preserved and highly impressive castle walls before you reach the top. The inside of the castle does not have many artifacts however, the uniqueness of the castle and the beauty of the surrounding area more than make up for it. Despite all of its beauty and outstanding features, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is one of the least visited of all the original castles, making it a true gem. ¥300.
  • Raikyū-ji (頼久寺), Raikyuji-cho +81 86-622-3516. 9AM-5PM. A zen temple of the Rinzai sect that dates back to 1504. The beautifully constructed garden within the temple grounds was constructed by Kobori Enshu, who is one of the founders of the Japanese tea ceremony. It's about 15 minutes from JR Bitchu Takahashi Station. ¥300 adults, ¥200 children.
  • Shōren-ji (松連寺). This temple, built atop a large stone wall, looks more like a fortress than a temple.
  • Yakushi-in (薬師院). Located directly to the left of Shoren-ji, Yakushi-in gained its fame as the setting of the movie "Otoko wa Tsurai yo" (男はつらいよ)
  • Takahashi Church (高梁基督教会堂 takahashi kirisuto kyoukaidou), 26 Kakinochi-machi (Along Koyagawa-dori),  +81 86-622-3311. 8:30AM-5:30PM.. Constructed in 1889 (Meiji 22) by a Western architect, it's the oldest church in Okayama. Worship services are still held on Sunday mornings. Free.
  • Haibara House.
  • Warrior's House.
  • Ikegami Mansion.

Fukiya area[edit]

Fukiya's Historic Bengara Village

The Fukiya area is quite far removed from the core of the city, centered around the castle and the station. The history of the area also differs, as Fukiya was once a bustling copper mining town; the leading producer of copper in Western Honshu during the Edo and Meiji Periods. After the Meiji Period, the mines were shut down and the area fell quiet. Today, it remains a quiet and peaceful town, but remnants of its past can be seen everywhere, from the mine shafts to the village itself.

  • Fukiya Bengara Village. One of Japan's many remaining Edo-period villages, Fukiya is well known for the unique burnt orange color of the buildings. The color comes from bengara, a bastardized pronunciation of Bengal, where the pigment was originally produced. Some of the buildings are locally-owned shops, while others, such as the post office, can only be viewed from the outside.
  • Fukiya Elementary School. Built in 1909, Fukiya Elementary School is the oldest wooden school still in use in Japan. One hundred years after its completion in 2009, a modest six students attended the school. Although tourists can really only view it from the outside and walk around the school grounds, many consider the school to be the highlight of the entire Fukiya area. While that may be debatable, it certainly is an interesting site.
  • Fukiya Historic Museum. ¥200.
  • Sasaune Historic Mine Shaft. One of the old copper mines. ¥300.
  • Bengara Factory Museum. ¥200.
  • Hirokane Residence (hirokane-tei), 1710 Nakano, Nariwa-cho. The house, built in 1810, belonged to the Hirokane family, a merchant family who made money off the copper mines. ¥300.

Do[edit]

Buy[edit]

The most popular souvenir from Takahashi is the Bengara cloth. The Bengara dyes have been made in the Fukiya area for centuries and they sell attractive scarves, bags, shirts, and other items made from the bengara cloth.

Eat[edit]

  • Chateau Rest House (From the station, go right. Pass the Lawsons, 7/11, and Osugi hospital. When you reach the canal/river, turn right and cross the train tracks. Chateau is on your left.).). last order: 8 pm. Sells set lunches & dinners for about 800 yen. Also sells pasta, omurice, and curry. Famous for having amazing parfaits, as well as for 'bucket parfaits' - parfaits served in a pail, or if you reserve in advance and have enough people, you can order the giant parfait served in a tub (14-16 people recommended).

Drink[edit]

Sleep[edit]

  • Takahashi Kokusai Hotel2033 Masamune-cho +81 86-621-0080. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 11AM. Prices start at ¥7350.
  • Motonakadatei Kurayashiki1757 Uji-cho (From Bitchu Takahashi Station take a bus to Ujinokyo-mae),  +81 86-629-2118. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 10AM. ¥3150 without meals, ¥6820 with two meals.
  • Business Hotel Takahashi1943-5 Ichiei-machi +81 86-622-6766.
  • Akagi Ryokan789 Ichidan-cho +81 86-622-3241. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM. Prices range from ¥8400 to ¥12600 (includes two meals).

Connect[edit]

Go next[edit]

There are direct lines from Bitchu Takahashi Station to each these destinations:

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