Shimabara Samurai Residences
shimabara tourist bureau
On the west side of Shimabara Castle in Shimabara City, Nagasaki Prefecture, is a quiet residential area where low-ranking samurai serving the local lord used to live. Built in early 17th century, at the same time as the construction of the castle, the district is known as Teppo-machi, literally “Gun Town,” because the foot soldiers who resided here mainly used firearms. The nickname is also said to derive from the fact that originally there were no walls or fences between the houses and you could get an unobstructed view just as if you were looking through the barrel of a gun.
The samurai residences of Teppo-machi are laid out in a grid pattern in an area that stretches for about 400m. A narrow stream of clear water runs in the center of the main street, a sight that has remained unchanged from the old days. The water of the canal comes from a spring in Kumano Shrine and was used as drinking water back in the samurai period. It played a vital role in the life of residents and was strictly controlled by a Mizu Bugyo, a “Water Magistrate.”
Picturesque and charming year-round, Teppo-machi is designated as a Townscape Preservation District. Strolling along the street lined by old stone walls is like walking through a scene from the Edo period (1603-1868). Three restored samurai houses, the Torita Residence, the Shinozuka Residence, and the Yamamoto Residence, are open to the public for free, allowing visitors a glimpse into the daily life of Shimabara samurai.
From Nagasaki Airport, take a bus to Hon-Isahaya Station (about 30 minutes), change for the Shimabara Railway to Shimabara Station (about 1 hour), then walk about 15 minutes.
From Isahaya Station, take the Shimabara Railway to Shimabara Station (about 1 hour), then walk about 15 minutes.
Shitanocho, Shimabara-shi, Nagasaki-ken
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