Immerse yourself in japan‘s feudal past in Usuki’s samurai district
Visiting the samurai district in Usuki is like traveling back to Japan’s samurai era. It’s a great place to experience the atmosphere and culture of the samurai, and to get lost among this old castle town’s stone-paved alleys and historic houses.
Strolling down the district’s central Nioza Historic Road
Mixing with the locals at Haccho Oji Market
Visiting the beautiful three-story pagoda at Ryugenji Temple
How to Get There
The samurai district is in the heart of Usuki and accessible by train. Nioza Historical Road is a 15-minute walk from Usuki Station. Usuki Station is a 40-minute train ride from Oita Station on the JR Nippo Main Line (limited express).
Striding through the samurai district
At the heart of the samurai district is Nioza Historic Road, a 200-meter lane that winds along temples and old Edo-period residences. It preserves the feeling of historic Japan with no signs of the modern age, making it an excellent spot for taking pictures. The Haccho Oji Market is a shopping street that runs parallel to Nioza Historic Road. This street is lined with shops selling traditional candies and snacks, kimono, local crafts, and other intriguing goods. Not far from Nioza Historic Road and Haccho Oji Market is Ryugenji Temple. The giant pagoda rises dramatically above the shops and busy streets.
Go inside a historic samurai residence
The local feudal lords of Usuki during the Edo period belonged to the Inaba clan. You can visit their residences. With its beautiful wooden structure and surrounding garden, the Inaba Residence is an ideal place to see and experience a piece of samurai history. The Marumo Residence, at the southern end of the town, is also open for viewing.
Ruins come to life at Usuki Castle
Explore the area’s history as you walk around the ruins of Usuki Castle. Initially built in 1562 by Christian feudal lord Otomo Sorin, its style was changed by the lords of Toyotomi administration to emphasize the magnificent structure of stone walls and castle towers. Then, further repairs were carried out by the Inaba clan on the castle in the 17th century and the castle was in use until the Meiji Restoration. The main keep was destroyed, but you can see the stone walls, the main gate, and several buildings. The area around Usuki Castle has been turned into a park, and it’s an excellent place to see cherry blossoms when they bloom in the spring.
In the samurai district of Usuki, you will find yourself transported to Japan’s feudal past. This district is a treasure trove of history and culture, offering visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of the samurai.
One of the highlights of the samurai district is the Nioza Historic Road. This 200-meter lane winds its way through the district, passing by temples and old Edo-period residences. Walking along this road feels like stepping back in time, as there are no signs of the modern age to be seen. The stone-paved alleys and historic houses create an authentic atmosphere that is perfect for capturing stunning photographs.
Adjacent to the Nioza Historic Road is the Haccho Oji Market, a bustling shopping street that offers a wide array of traditional candies, snacks, kimono, and local crafts. This is the perfect place to mingle with the locals and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of the samurai district. The market is filled with the sights, sounds, and smells of traditional Japan, providing a truly immersive experience.
A visit to the samurai district would not be complete without a stop at Ryugenji Temple. This beautiful temple is home to a stunning three-story pagoda that towers above the surrounding shops and streets. The pagoda is a symbol of the district and is a must-see for any visitor.
To reach the samurai district, you can take a train to Usuki Station. From there, it is just a short 15-minute walk to the Nioza Historic Road. Usuki Station is easily accessible from Oita Station on the JR Nippo Main Line, making it a convenient destination for travelers.
Once you arrive in the samurai district, you will be greeted by the charm and beauty of this historic town. The district is filled with samurai residences that belonged to the Inaba clan during the Edo period. Two of these residences, the Inaba Residence and the Marumo Residence, are open for viewing and provide a glimpse into the lives of the samurai.
The Inaba Residence is particularly noteworthy, with its beautiful wooden structure and meticulously maintained garden. This residence offers a rare opportunity to see a piece of samurai history up close and personal. The Marumo Residence, located at the southern end of the town, is also open for viewing and provides further insights into the life and times of the samurai.
For those interested in exploring the area’s history, a visit to the ruins of Usuki Castle is a must. Built in 1562 by Christian feudal lord Otomo Sorin, the castle underwent various changes in its architectural style over the years. The stone walls and castle towers were emphasized by the lords of the Toyotomi administration, and further repairs were carried out by the Inaba clan in the 17th century.
While the main keep of the castle was destroyed, visitors can still see the remnants of the stone walls, the main gate, and several other buildings. The area surrounding Usuki Castle has been transformed into a park, making it a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing in the spring.
In conclusion, a visit to Usuki’s samurai district is a journey back in time to Japan’s feudal era. The district offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the culture and history of the samurai, with its historic buildings, stone-paved alleys, and traditional markets. Whether strolling along the Nioza Historic Road, exploring the samurai residences, or marveling at the ruins of Usuki Castle, visitors to the samurai district are sure to be captivated by its charm and beauty. So, if you’re looking to experience Japan’s rich history and culture, a visit to Usuki’s samurai district is a must.
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