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Inaba looks like a typical Shiseido Cosmetics shop that you can find anywhere, and the shopping is indeed very typical however, this particular shop is very unique; the owner is the mother of Koshi Inaba, the famous lead vocalist of the Japanese rock group B'z.
In the back of the shop there is a wall of B'z memorabilia, including photos, items from fans, B'z souvenirs, items from tours, and his platinum albums. There is a photo album of Koshi Inaba with pictures from his childhood in Tsuyama to the present. It's really interesting if you are familiar with the group and are a fan.
If the shop is not busy, you can talk with his mother. She's very friendly and willing to chat about her son. You can also get a picture taken with her. It's very cute when they take your picture instead of "Cheese" they say "B'z"!
Written Apr 15, 2013
The History and Folk Museum is located in what used to be a library built by Christians. The building itself was constructed in Greek architectural style. The museum is located on the second floor. The first room has displays of artifacts from the old merchant buildings. The other rooms are on the opposite side. The second room is located in the former auditorium where they held church services. They have scrolls, samurai armor, and other artifacts. The Hina Matsuri dolls from the Edo Period are considered to be a highlight.
The other room contains currency used in Mimasaka Province and a display about Angkor Wat. The museum is a nice introduction to the town before going to see the old houses on Joto Street.
Entrance is 500 yen. Tickets must be purchased at the Tsuyama Wonder Museum. They offer a combination ticket for both this museum and the Wonder Museum for 1000 yen.
Written Mar 24, 2013
Address: 98-1 Yamashita
The Tsuyama Museum of Science Education is a fun and interesting museum filled with a variety of interesting things, ranging from insects to animals to anatomy. From the outside it appears to be a small museum, but I was surprised at how large it was and how many exhibits they actually have.
The first exhibit has displays of ancient artifacts uncovered from Tsuyama and the surrounding area, including a 20,000 year old whale fossil. Then there are exhibits about the human body. The museum's founder was so dedicated to the museum that he actually donated his own body organs to the museum, so the organs you see on display are his!
There are also exhibits of seashells and butterflies from Japan and around the world. Beyond that, most of the museum is dedicated to wildlife. The number of animals on display is impressive. I think any visitor will be able to see some animals that they have never seen before. I've been to many museums and zoos but still I easily saw many new animals. They claim that the polar bear in the museum is the largest polar bear in the world. I was particularly impressed by the elephant seal.
This is a fun museum that adults and children can enjoy.
The admission is around 700 yen. There is also a combination ticket for this museum and the History and Folk Museum for 1000 yen.
Updated Mar 19, 2013
Ume no Sato (Plum Village) is an entire hillside filled with plum blossom trees tucked away in the Kume area of Tsuyama. There are over 2000 trees and even more have been planted. Walking paths wind all around the hill throughout the plum groves. What you can see from the road and parking lot looks nice enough but I was really surprised at how much more there was beyond what you can see from below. It's impressive! The paths offer vistas over the blossoms and lookouts in addition to plum blossom tunnels that you can walk under.
There are 14 different varieties of plum trees and they come in a variety of colors and shades. The smell is also amazing!
My visit was unfortunately a little early. I was able to enjoy some blossoms but not the tunnels and vistas that I had hoped for. The plum blossoms bloom towards the end of March. Below the hill there are shops selling souvenirs, such as plum jam, delicious peach jam, and other jams, as well as other plum-flavored foods and Tsuyama specialties.
Written Mar 18, 2013
Address: 436-1 Kojiro
If you are in Japan in the spring, when the cherry blossoms are blooming, Tsuyama is the perfect place to go to enjoy them. Tsuyama's Cherry Blossom Festival is known all over Japan for its large amount of cherry blossoms. There are over 5,000 cherry blossom trees in Kakuzan Park around the castle ruins, making it the best place in the Chugoku region and one of the top places in the nation for viewing cherry blossoms. It may be a simple pleasure, but it will be memorable.
When I visited, I was unfortunately just a little early but even so it was very pretty. Shurakuen Garden also has some cherry trees.
Updated Nov 13, 2012
Kakuzan Park is a place for Tsuyama castle ruin (but has been rebuilt in 2006). It is a really good place for hanami (time to see sakura), since it has more than 5000 sakura trees. On April 1-15 every year there is Tsuyama Cherry Blossom Festival. You can enjoy both sakura and the festival.
Entrance fee is 210 yen.
Open daily (except Dec 29-31) from 8.40 am to 7.00 pm.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
The Joto Street is alligned with buildings dating back to the Edo period. Many of the buildings were once the residences of samurai, and the street itself was part of the pilgrimage route from Kyoto to Izumo Shrine. Walking down Joto street gives you insight into what life was like in Tsuyama during the time when Tsuyama Castle still existed. These buildings are the type of structures many foreigners picture when thinking about traditional Japanese housing architecture, and indeed, it is very unique!
Many of the buildings today also function as shops. The shops are local shops, so you won't find anything obnoxious like McDonalds ruining the traditional atmosphere. It's well-preserved and a walk down the street is a great way to experience Japanese history firsthand. The sake shop is particularly interesting. The owners have a special way of making their sake that has been passed down within their family from generation to generation for the past 250 years! If you can speak Japanese, the owners of the sake shop will enthusiastically show you the lanterns, a hidden space where the umbrellas were kept, and the way in which the door could be shut. If you don't understand Japanese, the sake shop is still a great place to view the inside of a samurai residence, and of course, you can buy sake!
In November there is also a festival held on Joto Street.
Updated Oct 13, 2010
Address: Joto Street
Shurakuen Garden is a beautiful and historical garden in Tsuyama. It was made it 1657 by Mori Nagatsugu, Tsuyama's second feudal lord, to entertain guests. The buildings in the garden are the original buildings, and they are quite well-preserved. Although the garden is not as large today as it used to be, the features of the garden that remain are the same as they were back when it was built. In the spring you can view cherry blossoms however, the beauty of this garden can be appreciated during all seasons. The first time I visited the garden was between the fall season and winter, which is probably the worst time to visit any garden in Japan, but even at this time, Shurakuen proved to be well worth visiting! I also came during the cherry blossom season, which of course, was amazing!
Surprisingly, the garden is free to enter, so I highly recommend taking a stroll through Shurakuen Garden!
Updated Oct 13, 2010
Kakuzan Park is home to the ruins of Tsuyama Castle, which was said to have been the most beautiful castle in all of Japan when it existed. It was heavily fortified and far-reaching; much larger than Himeji Castle! It is a nice walk around the ruins, and the view of Tsuyama city from the highest section is spectacular! There is historical information and pictures of the castle in in the building just near the entrance to the park. There is also a very small area of live animals. There is a boar, peacocks (including beautiful white peacocks), and a few other animals.
I find Kakuzan Park to be quite refreshing and beautiful. The turret at the edge of the castle grounds was built in 2005, but aside from this, the castle grounds feature only the ruins and well-preserved castle walls (which are still impressive). In my opinion, it's quite refreshing to be able to walk among the castle ruins and appreciate the history of the area without having a reconstructed castle, because the reconstructions do not have any real historical significance. The walk around the castle grounds can be made even more spectacular in the spring when the cherry blossoms are in bloom. There are over 5,000 cherry trees in the park; more than any other place in the Chugoku region!
It only costs 210 yen to enter for adults (100 yen for children).
Updated Oct 13, 2010
Mitsukuri Genpo (1799-1863) is a prominent figure in Japanese history, specifically when Japan first came into contact with the West. He was one of the original Dutch scholars in Japan, so his translations of Dutch texts became one of Japan's first glimpses into Western culture, influencing the government's decisions in dealing with the West (He worked as a translator for the government bureau). One of his works was a gazateer that gave information about many European countries which previously little was known about.
His residence is not very big, and the information inside is in Japanese only however, it is free to enter and it is located on Joto Street, the famous street with houses and samurai residences from the Edo Period, so it is worth stopping by for a short time to see this historical building. His grave is located in a nearby cemetary, and some of his writings are in Tsuyama's Archive of Western Learning Museum.
Updated Jun 17, 2010