Osaki-shimojima, one of the 5 islands connected by the Tobishima Kaido highway, floats near the shore of Kure, a city famous for battleship Yamato.
In the Mitarai district of Osaki-shimojima Island, you can find a townscape that has remained unchanged since the Edo period when the town flourished as a harbor. In 1994, the area was designated by the Japanese government as an important preservation district of historic buildings.
By the way, there are only two of these kinds of building preservation districts in Hiroshima prefecture (as of May 2015).
Here you have an elegant looking building, too. It looks like a shop… so let’s take a peek inside!
Wow! What a charming space! There are some lovely goods lined up on the tables, and at the end of the room there is a comfortable-looking tatami mat area♪
This is Satsuma-han Funayado-ato Wakiya, a 200-year-old house turned general goods store that opened up in 2014 following renovation. It was apparently used as the Satsuma domain’s boathouse during the Edo period (1603~1867).
I discovered some cute envelopes that have designs of the island-related lemons and Taka-toro (tall stone lantern) printed on them! Apparently they are the shop’s original goods.
Looking closely, you can see that there is a tag with “Mitarai Mandarin Rosoku” (‘Mitarai Mikan Candle’) written on it. Apparently these candles are handmade by the Mitarai neighborhood council. Even just one candle is cute by itself, but seeing so many lined up and hanging down is even lovelier! They are currently gaining attention as new Mitarai souvenirs.
This brightly smiling person is Mr. Inoue, the owner of Wakiya.
“Until recently, when tourists visited Mitarai, the only things they could buy were marine related products and mandarins. That’s why I wanted to make a space that young people could enjoy, so I opened this shop!”
In addition to Wakiya, Mr. Inoue also runs a café, and has been involved in starting up an udon noodle restaurant, too.
Mitarai’s historical townscape is great, but you also feel welcome because of the hospitality of wonderful people like this♪
A port town where time passes slowly, we recommend Mitarai to all who wish to have a carefree trip in the Seto Inland Sea area!
Satsuma-han Funayado-ato Wakiya
Address: 259 Mitarai, Kure city, Hiroshima prefecture
Open: 12:00-16:00 on Saturdays, Sundays and National holidays
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wakiya.g (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa
Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!
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