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Tsuwano town

TsuwanoMap of Tsuwano town Tsuwano is a small town in the mountain located near the southwest end of Shimane Prefecture.
It is about 30 km south of Masuda city facing the Sea of Japan, and about 50 km northeast of Yamaguchi city in Yamaguchi Prefecture.

Mongol attempted two invasions against Japan in 1274 and 1281.
So Kamakura Government built a castle on the mountain in Tsuwano as one of the places to guard the mainland. (But Mongol had never invaded since that.)
The castle was completed in 1324.

In the early 17th century, the castle was rebuilt and the castle town was constructed at the foot of the mountain.
After that, industrial development and education were promoted, and this small town became a center of this area.
In the 19th century, this town produced Amane Nishi (1829-1897, an excellent philosopher) and Ougai Mori (1862-1922, novelist, critic and medical doctor).

Tsuwano River flows from south to north, and there is the ruin of Tsuwano Castle on the mountain to the west.
The castle town is along Tsuwano River.
The old townscape is called "Little Kyoto".

The sightseeing area is within 3 km to the south of JR Tsuwano station.
So we can tour around the town on foot, and can use rental bicycle, taxi or sightseeing rickshaw.

Popular sightseeing spots in Tsuwano

  • Tonomachi street /1/ : The popular street in Tsuwano.
    It is located at the south part of central town and is about 0.5 km south of Tsuwano station.
    The length is about 200 meters, and some former samurai residence face the street.
    A small moat is set up along the street and many colorful carp swim in the moat.
  • Tsuwano Catholic Church /2/ : The Western-style church built in 1931 in Tonomachi street.
    Tatami mats are set up on the floor for Japanese believer.
    And there are the displays about Maria Church on Otome Pass.
  • Yorokan school /3/ : Former samurai school in Tonomachi street.
    The original school was built in another place in 1786, but it was destroyed by fire in 1853. Then it was rebuilt here in 1855.
    The main gate, training halls for martial arts and book storeroom remain.
  • Gate of Tago Family Residence /4/ : The gate of former samurai residence.
    The members of Tago Family had held the chief retainer of Tsuwano Clan for Edo Period (1603-1868).
  • Maria Church on Otome Pass /5/ : Otome Pass is on the mountain to the west of Tsuwano station.
    In 1867 (the last year of feudal Edo Period), 153 Christians in Nagasaki city were sent to here.
    Because Christianity was prohibited, they were terribly tortured here. Then 36 of them were martyred for their faith. It is said that Virgin Mary descended to earth at that time, and here is the only place in Japan.
    The church was built in 1948.
    The pass name "Otome" means "Virgin".
    In May 3rd, the pilgrimage from Tsuwano Catholic Church to this church is held.
  • Yasaka Shrine /6/ : A Shinto shrine founded in 1428.
    It was founded as a branch shrine of Yasaka Shrine in Kyoto.
    Sagi-mai (Dance of egret) festival in July 20th and 27th is well-known.
  • Taikodani-inari Shrine  /7/ : A Shinto shrine founded in 1773.
    It is located on the mountainside to the southwest of central town.
    Along the sloping approach, many red Torii gates are set up like a tunnel.
  • Ruin of Tsuwano Castle /8/ : It is on the mountain located about 1.5 km southwest of central town.
    The original castle was completed in 1324.
    It was renovated in the early 17th century, but most of the buildings were destroyed in 1686 by fire of lightning strike.
    The other buildings were demolished in 1871.
    Now, some stone walls remain in the site.
  • House of Ougai Mori /9/ : The house where Ougai Mori lived until the ages of 10.
    There is the museum about him next to the house.
  • House of Amane Nishi /10/ : The house where Amane Nishi lived until the ages of 21.
    It is close to House of Ougai Mori.
Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

How to get to here

By railroad (From Yamaguchi)

By limited express "Oki" on JR Yamaguchi Line, about 50 minutes from Yamaguchi, about 65 minutes from Shin-Yamaguchi on Shinkansen.
By local train, about 1 hour and 15 minutes from Yamaguchi.

By railroad (From Masuda, Matsue)

By limited express "Oki" on JR Yamaguchi Line, about 30 minutes from Masuda, about 2 hours 45-55 minutes from Matsue.
By local train, about 40 minutes from Masuda.

By airplane and route bus

To Iwami Airport, 1 hour and 45 miniues from Tokyo (Haneda), 3 hours from Tokyo (Haneda) through Osaka (Itami) {65 minutes from Osaka).
By route bus, from the airport, about 10-15 minutes to Masuda station. From Masuda station to Tsuwano station, about 1 hour 4 minutes.

Steam locomotive train from Yamaguchi
Tonomachi street
Carp in the moat
Tsuwano Catholic Church
Gate of Tago Family Residence
Photo by Railstation.net
Maria Church Sagi-mai of Yasaka Shrine
Approach with many Torii gates to Taikodani-inari Shrine Tunnel of Totii gates
Taikodani-inari Shrine Ruin of Tsuwano Castle
Photo by Railstation.net
House of Ougai Mori House of Amane Nishi

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