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Bitchu Matsuyama Castle

Takahashi (高梁市 Takahashi-shi) is a city in Okayama Prefecture (岡山県 Okayama-ken) in the western Chugoku region of the island of Honshu in Japan. In 2021, it had a population of approximately 29,300 people.


Get in[edit]

By train[edit]

Takahashi City can be accessed via the JR Hakubi Line from Niimi (¥590) to the north and Soja (¥420), Kurashiki (¥590), and Okayama (¥860) from the south. Get off at Bitchū Takahashi Station.

By car[edit]

Route 180 passes directly through Takahashi City, so from Okayama and Soja, travel North on Route 180. From Yonago, connect to Route 180 from the Yonago West Interchange and travel south through Niimi.

From Hokuei and Kurayoshi, you can travel south on Route 313 or North from Ibara. From the West, you can reach Takahashi travelling on Route 484.

For travel to the Fukiya area, Route 85 will take you to the Bengara Village.

Get around[edit]

On foot[edit]

The area around Bitchū Takahashi Station is quite easy to navigate on foot. You can even walk to Bitchū Matsuyama Castle if you have the energy and time (1.5 hours estimated to reach the castle on foot). Many people choose to walk down from the castle and take a taxi to the top.

By taxi[edit]

Taxis are located just outside the station. For those who want to visit the castle, save time, and avoid walking up the mountain, taxis are highly recommended. It costs around ¥1300, but if you are travelling with others, the split cost makes it quite affordable.

Although taxis are a convenient and faster way to get to the Fukiya area, be aware that it is about a 40 minute drive, so the cost will be high.

By bus[edit]

If you choose to use the bus for travel to sites around the station, be aware that none of the buses go to the castle. The closest stop is at the bottom of the mountain.

For travel to the Fukiya area, take the Bihoku Bus from outside the station.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Bitchū Matsuyama Castle (備中松山城, Bitchū Matsuyamajō), 086-622-1487, [1]. 9-5:30, Oct-Mar 9-4:30. One of Japan's few remaining original castles, dating back to the seventeenth century, it is the only original mountain castle in the nation. It is also the highest castle, built atop Mount Gagyu. Although you can take a taxi up most of the mountain, there is a point at which you must walk up (as no vehicles are allowed on the path leading to the castle). The ascent to the castle will take you through the well-preserved and highly impressive castle walls before you reach the top. The inside of the castle does not have many artifacts however, the uniqueness of the castle and the beauty of the surrounding area more than make up for it. Despite all of its beauty and outstanding features, Bitchū Matsuyama Castle is one of the least visited of all the original castles, making it a true gem. Closed Dec 29th-Jan 3rd. ¥500.  edit
  • Raikyūji (頼久寺), 18 Raikyuji-cho, 086-622-3516, [2]. 9AM-5PM. A zen temple of the Rinzai sect that dates back to 1504. The beautifully constructed garden within the temple grounds was constructed by Kobori Enshu, who is one of the founders of the Japanese tea ceremony. It's about 15 minutes from JR Bitchū Takahashi Stn. ¥300 adults, ¥200 children.  edit
  • Takahashi Local History Museum (高梁市郷土資料館), 21 Mukocho, Takahashi, 086-622-1479. 9AM-5PM. Using a former 19th century western style school building, this museum is part art museum and part historical relics. ¥400.  edit
  • Takahashi Merchant's House Museum (高梁市商家資料館 池上邸), 94 Honmachi, Takahashi, 086-621-0229, [3]. 10-4. The former site of a weathy merchant house, here you can see a feudal era home, garden, and traditional equipment used for soy sauce production. Free.  edit
  • Takahashi Historical Museum (高梁市歴史美術館), 1203-1 Haradakitacho, Takahashi, 086-621-0180, [4]. 9AM-5PM. Focuses more on modern art paintings from contemporary Japanese artists. ¥400.  edit
  • Shōrenji (松連寺), 4102 Kamidanicho, 086-622-3042. This temple, built atop a large stone wall, looks more like a fortress than a temple.  edit
  • Yakushi-in Tairyuji (薬師院泰立寺), 4100 Kamidanicho, 086-622-2575. Located directly to the left of Shorenji, Yakushi-in gained its fame as the setting of the movie "Otoko wa Tsurai yo" (男はつらいよ)  edit
  • Takahashi Christ Church (高梁基督教会堂 takahashi kirisuto kyoukaidou), 26 Kakinochi-machi (Along Koyagawa-dori), 086-622-3311, [5]. 9AM-5:30PM.. Constructed in 1889 by a Western architect, it's the oldest church in Okayama. Worship services are still held on Sunday mornings. Free.  edit
  • Haibara House.  edit
  • Warrior's House.  edit
  • Ikegami Mansion.  edit

Fukiya area[edit]

The Fukiya area is quite far removed from the core of the city, centered around the castle and the station. The history of the area also differs, as Fukiya was once a bustling copper mining town; the leading producer of copper in Western Honshu during the Edo and Meiji Periods. After the Meiji Period, the mines were shut down and the area fell quiet. Today, it remains a quiet and peaceful town, but remnants of its past can be seen everywhere, from the mine shafts to the village itself.

  • Fukiya Bengara Village. One of Japan's many remaining Edo-period villages, Fukiya is well known for the unique burnt orange color of the buildings. The color comes from bengara, a bastardized pronunciation of Bengal, where the pigment was originally produced. Some of the buildings are locally-owned shops, while others, such as the post office, can only be viewed from the outside.  edit
  • Fukiya Elementary School. Built in 1909, Fukiya Elementary School was the oldest wooden school in Japan. One hundred years after its completion in 2009, a modest six students attended the school. Sadly, it is now closed. Although tourists can really only view it from the outside and walk around the school grounds, many consider the school to be the highlight of the entire Fukiya area. While that may be debatable, it certainly is an interesting site.  edit
  • Fukiya Historic Museum. ¥200.  edit
  • Sasaune Historic Mine Shaft. One of the old copper mines. ¥300.  edit
  • Bengara Factory Museum. ¥200.  edit
  • Hirokane Residence (hirokane-tei), 1710 Nakano, Nariwa-cho. The house, built in 1810, belonged to the Hirokane family, a merchant family who made money off the copper mines. ¥300.  edit

Do[edit][add listing]

Buy[edit][add listing]

Eat[edit][add listing]

  • Chateau Rest House, (From the station, go right. Pass the Lawsons, 7/11, and Osugi hospital. When you reach the canal/river, turn right and cross the train tracks. Chateau is on your left.).). last order: 8 pm. Sells set lunches & dinners for about 800 yen. Also sells pasta, omurice, and curry. Famous for having amazing parfaits, as well as for 'bucket parfaits' - parfaits served in a pail, or if you reserve in advance and have enough people, you can order the giant parfait served in a tub (14-16 people recommended).  edit

Drink[edit][add listing]

  • Wala
  • The juice and water
  • Takahashi Kokusai Hotel, 2033 Masamune-cho, ☎ 086-621-0080, [3]. checkin: 2:00 PM; checkout: 11:00 AM. Prices start at ¥7350. edit Motonakadatei Kurayashiki, 1757 Uji-cho (From Bitchu Takahashi Station take a bus to Ujinokyo-mae), ☎ 086-629-2118. checkin: 4:00 PM; checkout: 10:00 AM. ¥3150 without meals, ¥6820 with two meals. edit Business Hotel Takahashi, 1943-5 Ichiei-machi, ☎ 086-622-6766, [4]. edit Akagi Ryokan, 789 Ichidan-cho, ☎ 086-622-3241. checkin: 2:00 PM; checkout: 10:00 AM. Prices range from ¥8400 to ¥12600 (includes two meals). edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

  • Takahashi Kokusai Hotel, 2033 Masamune-cho, 086-621-0080, [7]. checkin: 2:00 PM; checkout: 11:00 AM. Prices start at ¥7350.  edit
  • Motonakadatei Kurayashiki (元仲田邸くらやしき), 1757 Uji-cho (From Bitchu Takahashi Station take a bus to Ujinokyo-mae), 086-629-2118 (fax: "086-629-2130"url=""). checkin: 16; checkout: 10. Offers accommodation in a building going back to Japan's feudal times. Has both Japanese and western style rooms. Closed Mon. and year end/start. ¥4550 without meals, ¥8700 with two meals.  edit
  • Business Hotel Takahashi (ビジネスホテル高梁), 1943-5 Ichiei-machi, 086-622-6766, [8]. checkin: 16; checkout: 10. Simple, clean business hotel 2 minutes on foot from Takahashi Stn. sgl ¥5000, twn ¥9000.  edit
  • Akagi Ryokan, 789 Ichidan-cho, 086-622-3241. checkin: 14; checkout: 10. ¥8400~¥12600 (includes two meals).  edit


Get out[edit]

There are direct lines from Bitchu Takahashi Station to each these destinations:

  • Okayama City is nearby, featuring Korakuen, one of Japan's Top 3 gardens, the Kibi Trail, a variety of museums, and all the Momotaro you could possibly want.
  • Soja - City famous for its Zen temple, Hofukuji Temple where the poet and priest Sesshu once lived, as well as housing the other half of the Kibi Trail.
  • Niimi - Known for its two caves; Ikura Ravine and Maki Cave.
  • Tsuyama - Famous for Kakuzan Park, where springtime visitors will be treated to Okayama's best place to view cherry blossoms, as well as the beautiful Shurakuen Garden and historic Joto Street.
  • Fukuyama - Known for its castle and beautiful Shinshoji Temple.
  • Onomichi - A hillside town of temples and Japanese novelists, with spectacular views of the Seto Inland Sea and bicycle road to Shikoku.
  • Hiroshima - Site of the world's first A-bombing, yet offers so much more that far fewer people discover.
  • Mihara - City with Hiroshima Airport, Sankeien Garden, and numerous places of natural beauty.
  • Himeji - Famous for Japan's grandest castle, the gorgeous Kokoen Garden, and mountaintop Engyoji Temple.
  • Takamatsu - A quick ride across Seto-Ohashi Bridge, one of Japan's longest, takes you to this charming city, with Ritsurin Park, of of the nation's most beautiful traditional gardens.
  • Matsuyama - One of Shikoku's best cities, easily reached by high speed boat or ferry from Hiroshima, with its original surviving castle and Dogo hot springs, one of Japan's oldest.

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