Fukiya Furusato Village is a pleasant town tucked away between the cities of Takahashi and Niimi in Okayama Prefecture. The town used to be a booming copper mining town back in the Meiji era, and the buildings you see today date back to this time (over 100 years ago). One unique feature about this town that is unlike many other Furusato Villages in Japan is the use of bengara on many of the buildings' walls, making them beautiful orange and peach colors. (See my picture to the left to see the bengara walls, although there are actually much better examples in this village) The atmosphere created by these buildings is quite cheerful, and the lack of tourists makes the experience feel more authentic.
There are museums in Fukiya to learn about the history of the town and the village, and you can also tour the mineshaft. It's an ideal place to go to get out of the cities and experience a different side of Japan!
The Fukiya Primary School is one of the most interesting buildings in the area. The main building dates to 1909, while the side buildings were built in 1900. It is built on the site where the copper mine (Yoshioka Dozan) once stood.
Aside from its age and history, an interesting fact about this school is that it is still in use! When I came to Fukiya, a woman informed me that her child was one of only six students that attend this school. It is the oldest wooden school still in use in Japan!
The bottle-neck in public transport to Fukiya is the bus: there are three buses a day, so don't miss yours! However, the bus drivers we met were very friendly, helpful and more than willing to share their knowledge of English, or failing that, to show by handsigns the right places to get off and on the bus.
If you take the morning bus (leaving around 10:45 if I remember well), and return by the teatime one (return around 15:45), you have ample time to stroll through the village.
Buses are from/to JR station Bitzu-Takahashi and need almost an hour between Bitzu-Takahashi and Fukiya on a narrow and windy road (not a road to drive by yourself if you're not used to driving in Japan).
JR station Bitzu-Takahashi is about an hour by local train from Okayama; those trains run very regularly.
The best way to get to Fukiya is by car. Fukiya is located on Route 85 between Niimi City and Takahashi City. The roads can be a bit windy, but it's not so difficult to reach.
You can also take a taxi to the area from Takahashi Station.
(The website provides a rough map, including attractions)