Takehara City has the rather romantic literal meaning in Japanese of bamboo-field city. Form doesn't quite follow name but the area's outskirts do have large bamboo forests. Takehara developed, like Onomichi, as an important focus of sea traffic on the Seto Inland Sea. From the Muromachi era (1336-1573) to the Edo era (1603-1868), salt industries thrived in the area. Today, it is a small sedate coastal city with around 32,000 people living in the area.
The city's official tree was picked in 1978 and is, you may have guessed it, bamboo. The bamboo connection is played up by the city; bamboo is planted through out the city and it features heavily in the city insignia (shown to the top-right). The bamboo circle shows the harmony of the people and three bamboo-grass plains the city was built upon are represented by the bamboo leaves. The city's flower is the "tidy and elegant featured" plum blossom.
Historic Preservation Area
Takehara's main tourist attraction in the city is the historic preservation area. It takes around 15 minutes to walk through town from JR Takehara Station to the area. Takehara is nicknamed "little Kyoto in Aki" but it has become a little hard to see the connection in modern times. If you're in the area then it's well worth a look. A fair number of domestic tourists take tours around the area and sample the local specialty foods, bamboo shoots and Japanese sake.
There are historical buildings, temples, shrines and several museums in the preservation area. There is even a museum devoted entirely to sake, Japanese rice wine. Almost all of the displays and pamphlets are in Japanese only.
Probably, Takehara's most famous buildings are in the heart of the historical area at the Zen Buddhist compound, Saihouji. Originally built in 1560, it burned to the ground in 1602 and was rebuilt soon after. The main building was restored in 1702 and it has evolved since then with parts being added over many years. The pictures on the right are of it.
The Saihouji compound is up on top of a long flight of stairs. It faces out towards Takehara and the sea. The highlights are its wooden gate at the top of the hill, large bell and main building. The view from the main building's platform of the city is very nice.
One stop east of Takehara (Tadanoumi Station) on the the local JR train is Mount Kurotaki. It is 266 meters tall and takes around 40 minutes to climb. You can see a panoramic view of the Seto Inland Sea and the town below from the summit. Hardy townspeople in the Seto Inland Sea Area are fond of climbing up the tallest mountain around to see the first sunrise of the year and Mount Kurotaki is Takehara's designated destination.
Takehara has a number of specialty foods. The most famous are its soba which is served on a blazing hot roof shingle and its sake (Japanese rice wine). A number of places serve Takehara's soba dish and there are plenty of museums dedicated to sake making in Takehara. Be sure to visit one of the sake shops and sample (if you aren't driving) some of Takehara's sake.
Annual Festivals and Events
Mamonaku Calendar: Takehara Events
Takehara City is located midway along the coast of Honshu in Hiroshima Prefecture. It is over an hour and a half by train (Sanyo Line) or bus from Hiroshima City. From Hiroshima Station, it takes over an hour and twenty minutes on the Kure line train to reach Takehara Station. There are ferries to and from destinations across the Seto Inland Sea in Takehara City and Tadanoumi.
Submitted by mbystedt on Sun, 03/06/2011 - 10:49