Takehara, the Little Kyoto of Aki
The profound townscape and townspeople culture were created from the development of salt field cultivation along the coast of the Seto Inland Sea during the Edo Era. The area flourished from salt production along with sake brewing so that this old town came to be known as the Little Kyoto of Aki. This preserved district is made up of old mercantile houses, temples & shrines and streets so that a traditional Japanese commercial town can be seen. Centering upon the main street of Honmachi Dori, there are numerous historic buildings that are open to the public along with cafés and restaurants built within the old town residences.
Also famous as a setting for dramas and anime
Takehara is also famous as the birthplace of the founder of Nikka Whiskey, Masataka Taketsuru, who was the inspiration for the NHK morning serial drama “Massan” in which the surviving Taketsuru Brewery was also actually used in filming. The brewery is still in operation and has garnered high praise for its brewing techniques of sake. Sampling of the sake is possible, and the museum inside the brewery can also be toured for free. The Hinomaru Photography Studio became the setting for the television anime series “Tamayura”. Its wooden 3-floor building and log evoke feelings of the Showa Era. Also in connection with the anime, there is an anime corner on the 2nd floor of the old Kasai residence.
Various events under the theme of the regional product of bamboo
“Take”, or bamboo, is the official special product of Takehara. At Machinami Take Kobo (Town Bamboo Workshop), you can observe the creation of handicrafts and even try your hand at bamboo ware. Every year in May, the Takehara Bamboo Festival is held in which there are various events such as the Princess Kaguya parade. There is also the Takehara Shoukei-no-Michi in which the light of candles placed in the hollow bamboo stems lights up the town in a mysterious glow. The artwork that uses the bamboo during this time is also wonderful.