Jul 22, 2019
Gallery - A Summer Day in Yame City
Finally, on umi no hi, it felt like summer. We got the rainy season quite late this year in Kyushu, so it's technically still rainy season in mid-July and has been gloomy. We haven't seen a lot of rainy days yet and compared with last year it's been so cool.
A friend was in town staying in Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture with a few others, so I went down to visit for the day. I've been in Yame only a few times, mostly for new tea picking, so it was nice to see a different neighborhood. Yame is very much tea-growing countryside, and this small town area is in the center of the city. Access is easy by bus (numbers 30, 31, or 32) from Nishitetsu Kurume or Hanabatake Stations in Kurume City. I stopped at Fukushima bus stop.
In a very relaxed and unplanned sort of way, we put on sun hats and wandered around the neighborhoods of Fukushima, Motomachi, and Kyomachi. There are a lot of small shops, old sake breweries, and shrines.
Anywhere that looked nice, we slowed down to look and maybe take pictures. The details on the shrines were incredible - the hand carved details are special. The combination of traditional old materials with newer modern ones were fun too. We saw some additions with this nice light green that looks so Meiji era.
Some structures seemed like huge houses or walled shrines or castles. We thought maybe just rich people's houses? Probably they are sake breweries.
We spent a little time in a place called Sakaiya, home of the Kinoshita family in the Meiji Era. It was a home and sake brewery which opened up to the public in Heisei 4. The details in the building were incredible plus it was cooler in the shade inside. Several of these homes are listed in a Japanese pamphlet which also has a map of the old castle region. (We didn't know Yame had a castle in the 1600s!) We especially liked that each room had a marker on the inside in a specific design. The Tsuru room, the Tsubaki room, etc.
It sounds fun to explore more of these houses and the castle ruins in the future.
There are so many antique metal signs decorating the walls in these neighborhoods! It's surprising because each one is generally worth a lot of money. They sometimes have famous musicians or actors promoting products, but other signs were for bus stops or salt shops. I also liked this vintage 'nekosuro' cat slot machine.
We stopped at the biggest shrine in Yame, known for it's puppet festival in September, Fukushima Hachi Mangu. I've never been to the festival, but it was recommended as it's a really unique type of puppetry - the large puppets move from levers below and on the side of the stage. The female puppet apparently has three different kimono wardrobe changes during the show.
There are also unique ceramic lanterns at each side of the shrine's main hall. They were badly damaged and surrounded by birdcage-like structures, which were then covered by mikuji.
The fu dogs were a bit overgrown, as are most things this time of year in Kyushu. It all made for nice scenery and details to explore for.
It's not far so I'd like to go spend some more time exploring that part of Yame City.