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Former Fukiya Elementary School

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A picturesque wooden school nested in the mountains of Okayama

Takahashi City Tourism Association


©Takahashi City Tourism Association


A real gem nested in the mountains of Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture, Fukiya is known for its gorgeous traditional houses painted with an earthy-brown pigment called bengara. A specified area, Fukiya Furusato Village, has been designated as a preservation district. Safe from mass tourism, its setting remains unaltered from centuries ago. Visiting the hamlet is like traveling to the past and delving into the heart of real Japan.

From Fukiya Furusato Village, a two-minute walk leads you to an imposing wooden building taking center stage among deep green trees. Former Fukiya Elementary School boasted being Japan’s oldest wooden school that had students until it closed in 2012. Built in the beginning of the 20th century, its architecture, as seen in the wooden lattice ceiling, reflects the influence Japan was getting from the West at that time. 


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Inside the prestigious building, you can rent smart glasses and take special classes with Extended Reality technology. An animated character tells you in English the history of the area, and how it once thrived on the production of Bengara pigment.




How to get there


From Okayama Airport (OKJ), take a bus that connects the airport to Okayama station (about 30 minutes). From Okayama Station, take either the JR Hakubi train line bound for Bitchu Takahashi or Niimi (about an hour) or the Limited Express Yakumo bound for Izumo (about half an hour) and get off at Bitchu Takahashi Station. At Bitchu Takahashi Bus Center (above Bitchu Takahashi Station), take the bus bound for Fukiya. The bus ride is about an hour.


1290-1 Fukiya, Nariwa-cho, Takahashi-shi, Okayama-ken



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