The former Kajimura Residence is one of the historic buildings along the Izumo Pilgrimage Route in Tsuyama's Joto Historic District. The main residence was built in the Edo Period and features some historic artifacts. It is said that a member of the Imperial family once stayed here while in Tsuyama. The other buildings date back to the Meiji,...more
The Tsuyama Kodo Museum, also called the Tsuyama City Museum, has exhibits to outline Tsuyama's history from ancient times to today. The first floor features exhibits of old artifacts, many from the Kofun Period, such as burial tombs and pottery. It also has the skeleton of the dinosaur Paleoparadoxia which was once native to Tsuyama.The second...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Tsuyama is famous for its horumon udon. Horumon are offals or internal organs. Tsuyama's horumon udon features horumon with fried udon. One of the best places to get horumon udon is here at Kuishinbo. They make everything at the counter right in front of you. While horumon has an acquired taste and is admittedly not my favorite food, the horumon...more
At Yokono Falls, there is an interesting restaurant called Somen Nagashi (Flowing Somen). At this restaurant, you sit on benches and at each table, there is a bamboo chute. Water runs down the bamboo, and when customers sit at a table, noodles come down the chute in the water. To eat, you simply put your chopsticks in the water and the noodles will...more
In my opinion cycling is the best way to see the main sites in Tsuyama. While walking is possible, the historic Joto Street is rather long and its best views are the furthest from the castle area, closer to HigashiTsuyama Station. Shurakuen Garden, one of the town's most famous sites, is also a bit removed from the castle. Biking eliminates most of...more
To get to Tsuyama, you can either take the railway from Okayama Station or drive. The JR Tsuyama Line will take you straight to Tsuyama from Okayama. The line uses Wanman Trains, which are operated by one person and only have 2 cars. Depending on where else you've been, it may be a nice experience. Wanman Trains are not quite as smooth as others,...more
Tsuyama does have a bus system, as well as taxis, that you can use to get around. If you don't mind using the bus (depot across the road from the station) or taxi (right outside the station), then feel free to use them. I used both. The bus is pretty cheap, but the price goes up a bit every stop, so know where you're going or you'll be paying...more
Tsuyama has 100 Yen Land, Uniqlo, and other well-known stores in it, but I think the best shops are the local shops. These shops contain a lot of hand-made items and the kind of knick-knacks that make great souvenirs! Local shops however, are scattered about, so you may have to do some exploring to find them (I'm not saying they're hidden or...more
This plaza contains a Tsutaya store (movies, music, games), a grocery store with bakery of fresh breads/pastries, a Kentucky Fried Chicken, and a clothing store. If you want these sort of products in Tsuyama, this is the place to go . It really is a nice area to shop and eat in.more
In Tsuyama, on the "Sea Memorial/Festival" the people of Tsuyama go to Yokono Falls to celebrate and pay homage to the sea. This holiday was on July 21. There are no special rituals to perform at Yokono Falls, so it's not a "celebration" like a party, it is simply customary to visit the falls and perhaps eat at the restaurant.
Take a walk (or drive, although I enjoyed the walk) up Mount Kannabi to the viewing tower. It's a nice place to relax and you can see most of Tsuyama from the tower. It's not far, and the walk is easy. It's like a slightly steep hill, so there's no mountain climbing involved. It's a small mountain! Mount Kannabi is a nice place to go to get out of...more
While much of Japan's historical sights have been engulfed by Japan's large metropolitan areas, Tsuyama is a more quiet town where you can enjoy the historical sights without the tourist crowds. This is partly because it is in rural Japan, but also because the citizens have taken an interest in their city's history and culture, so they are well-preserved. Because of the history and culture, Tsuyama has been called "Little Kyoto". Joto street and the samurai house are from the feudal Edo Period, the Yayoi village is a recreation of some of the first settlements in Tsuyama (and there is a museum nearby that contains artifacts from the past), Yokono Washi (which is the traditional method of making paper in Tsuyama) still exists in Tsuyama, Kakuzan Park contains the ruins of Tsuyama Castle, Shurakuen Garden has been preserved from the 17th century, and of course there are many temples and shrines, along with many museums, so you can truly learn a lot about Japanese history and experience much of it firsthand!
One of the main reasons why people travel to Japan, is to experience its unique culture and to learn more about its fascinating history. If this is one of your goals, then Tsuyama will not disappoint you!
Fondest memory: The people of Tsuyama really made my stay there memorable. I lived with a host family for four weeks, and I have since returned to visit them.