Tsuwano Old Town

1 of 4 spots
in Tsuwano
77% 15
Tonomachi District
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Tsuwano is one of several towns across Japan nicknamed "Small Kyoto". The reason for the comparison is Tsuwano's old town which features several preserved historic buildings and retains an atmosphere reminiscent of past centuries. The highlight is the Tonomachi district where one street block of the former samurai district is particularly nicely preserved with earthen walls, historic buildings and a water canal filled with carps.

The adjacent former merchant district, which lies between Tsuwano Station and the Tonomachi District, is not quite as meticulously groomed and preserved as the Tonomachi district, but it, too, contains quite a few old fashioned buildings and facades, including some sake shops and a few museums of interest.

Hanko Yorokan
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00
Closed: December through February and Wednesdays
Admission: 250 yen
Hanko Yorokan was constructed in 1786 as the town's education facility. Subjects taught included Confucianism, military science, archery, horse riding and weapon techniques. Today, part of the building is open to public as a folk museum which contains exhibits relating to Tsuwano and its people.

Tsuwano Catholic Church
Hours: 8:00 to 17:30 (until 17:00 from November to March)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
This church was built in 1931 by a Catholic priest from Germany. It is quite unique for featuring tatami mats instead of pews. Next to the church stands a small museum with exhibits related to the story of the Christians who were persecuted in Tsuwano during the early Meiji Period. English information is not provided.

Morijuku Art Museum
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: December 29 to January 1
Admission: 500 yen
This approximately 150 year old building is the former residence of the local town head, renovated and opened as an art museum. Visitors can explore the historic house and view its interesting interior design. A section of the house is designated as art space, exhibiting Western style paintings by two local artists.

Katsushika Hokusai Museum of Art
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: Tuesdays and New Year holidays
Admission: 500 yen
The museum houses a collection of works by Katsushika Hokusai, one of Japan's most famous painters from the Edo Period, ranging from ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints) to illustrated books by the artist and some of his pupils. Hokusai himself did not have a special relation to Tsuwano. Rather, the museum was opened here thanks to the discovery of one of his works by a local researcher.

Anno Art Museum
Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:45)
Closed: December 29-31 and second Thursday in Mar, Jun, Sep and Dec
Admission: 800 yen
This museum across the street from the station is dedicated to the local illustrator Anno Mitsumasa, who specializes in picture books and children's books. The museum displays rotating exhibitions of Anno's works and features a library of his books and a classroom with nostalgic interior decor from the Showa Period.

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Get There and Around

The old town lies just southeast of Tsuwano Station. The Tonomachi district can be reached from the station in a ten minute walk.

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Page last updated: March 20, 2015