Kusano Town in Kurume City, located in the southern part of Fukuoka Prefecture, is a town with a rich flavor, where many old temples, shrines, and houses stand side by side, preserving its former prosperity as Kusanojuku on the old Hita Highway. Walking around the town, you can feel the "Japanese" taste here and there, and you will feel as if you have time-traveled back in time.
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History of Kusano Town, Kurume City
Kurume City is a city in the Chikugo region of southern Fukuoka Prefecture. About 10 kilometers east of the city center, on the way to Hita City in Oita Prefecture on Prefectural Road No. 210, surrounded by rich nature, you will come across a retro town with Japanese houses. This is Kusano Town, Kurume City. The town was founded in the end of the Heian period (794-1185), eight centuries ago, by Eiketsune Kusano and his son Eihei, who were from the southern part of Hizen Province (present-day Saga Prefecture).
However, in 1588 (Azuchi-Momoyama period), the Kusano clan was destroyed by Hideyoshi Toyotomi in Kyushu. With the death of the Kusano clan, the town's four centuries of history came to an end. In the Edo period (1603-1867), however, the town was restored thanks to the efforts of the Kusano clan's surviving vassals. More than 60 kinds of businesses such as blacksmiths, apothecaries, rice dealers, and financiers were established, and the town once again flourished as one of the leading towns of the Kurume domain, with cultural activities such as kabuki and bunraku (puppet plays) enjoyed by the locals.
Gallery of traditional Japanese houses "Sankirai"
Many buildings from the Edo period still exist in the Kusano Town. At an intersection just off Hatsushin Park, the site of Hatsushin Castle, there is an old private house gallery that utilizes buildings from the Edo period. It is Gallery Sankirai.
Sankirai has been operating here in Kusano for 25 years. The owner, Ms. Uryu Shisato, is originally from Hita City, Oita Prefecture. When she moved to Kurume City upon her marriage, she strongly felt that "If I am going to start something, I definitely want to start in the Kusano area! He was very determined to start something in Kusano Town. Uryu describes the charm of Kusano as follows. There are many towns with a long history, but I think it is rare to find a town with a mountain so close by. The rich nature and the old townscape. Shrines and temples. I myself love old townscapes and visit many places, but there are few towns like Kusano."
Sankirai sells clothing, sundries, ceramics, and other items made by artists from all over Japan. Workshops and exhibitions are also held regularly. We also asked about the concept behind the store. I choose all the works that I intuitively like," she said. The most important thing is to have the urge to go to the artist's place. The most important thing is to have an impulse to visit the artist. When I started this store (in 1993), stores like this in the suburbs were rare, but I had no hesitation at all because I wanted to visit such stores myself. I would try what I thought I 'liked. I think that kind of feeling is important." Looking back on his own life, Uryu says with a laugh, "Am I being too reckless? Uryu laughs, "Am I being too reckless? Why don't you visit this healing space filled with the owner's "suki(like)"
Kusano Historical Museum
Right next to Sankirai, there is a gorgeous Western-style building.
It is the Kusano Historical Museum. This building was built in 1908 as the Kusano Bank, Ltd. At one time, there was talk of demolishing the building, but thanks to the efforts of local residents, it was reopened as the Kusano Historical Museum in 1984, retaining its original form. In 1999, the building was designated as a National Registered Cultural Property and is a valuable building with historical value. We interviewed Mr. Kazunari Higuchi, curator at the Kusano Historical Museum, who researches the history and culture of Kusano, about the charms of the town. Kusano is a town that retains its history and tells of the lives of people who lived through its history, and I think it has a lot of charm that attracts people. In particular, it is very valuable as a town that tells the history of the Middle Ages. I think that's what makes it so attractive." He also speaks of the building of the Kusano Historical Museum. I feel that the people of Kusano have shown great spirit in building a wonderful building that blends the Japanese and Western styles in this small town. I believe that the people of Kusano had such pride in their town. People who have lived in Kusano for a long time often say, "This town was built by the people of Mitsui County (the county seat of the Japanese government). This town was the best town in Mitsui County (the eastern part of Kurume City). This town was the best town in Mitsui County (the eastern part of Kurume City). A town rich in history, culture, and nature. I wish more towns like this existed.
The Kusano Historical Museum exhibits materials introducing the history of Kusano from the Middle Ages to the modern era. I want people to enjoy the town as if the whole town were a museum," Higuchi said. I want visitors to enjoy the town as if the entire town were a museum", says Higuchi. Why not visit the Kusano Historical Museum, which will stimulate your historical romance and intellectual curiosity?
Exquisite! Tsubaki Gelato
Finally, we would like to introduce Kusano's best sweets! This is "Tsubaki Gelato" from the Tsubaki World Museum, which exhibits tsubaki (camellia) from all over the world. Blended with fresh raw milk from Morimitsu Ranch in Kitano Town, Kurume City, Amao strawberries from Kyushu, and freshly squeezed camellia oil from camellia nuts, this camellia gelato is a gem that lets you experience the blessings of magnificent nature with a gentle sweetness. It is sure to please your taste buds! Tsubaki World Pavilion also sells Tsubaki Oil itself. Tsubaki oil is not only edible, but also very useful for beauty. It gives your skin and hair the ultimate in moisture and luster.
Kusano is a town rich in history, culture, and magnificent nature. Why don't you visit Kusano Town?