Exploring the Townspace of Omori

(Enjoying Omori like a local )

Hi! My name is Shun and today I gave a tour of Omori and its townscape to Sakib together with my friend Tomoko. We decided to explore some of the more traditional parts of Omori like the temples and samurai houses. These building in Omori are well kept and many of them are museums where visitors can see what sort of lifestyle the residents of the houses used to live. All the while the outsides of these buildings are also well kept, so the townscape is also very nice to look at as well!

Here you can see how pretty the townscape of Omori is with its dirt walls, weathered wooden shingles, and red oranges roof tiles. I think Sakib enjoyed just simply walking through the town with this atmosphere. As you can see, there are hardly any tourists here in Omori making the walk through the town relaxing. Some may also notice that there are no electric poles or lines, allowing for people to take a good inhibited view of the blue sky.

On the way to the samurai house we were walking towards, we also stopped by a traditional candy store called Arima Goueido. Here they sell two types of candy, one a sort of cookie called Getanoha, and a hard candy with soybeans in them. The store itself is old house with a traditional hardened dirt floor called a doma. Unlike other stores in more touristy areas the store here do not have workers who are trying to being in customers by talking loudly or by yelling “irasshaimase!”. It fits in perfectly with the town, adding to the warm atmosphere of the townscape.

After visiting the candy store, we headed to the Kawashima Residence where we looked at their beautifully maintained Japanese garden. The Japanese maple was a bright red-orange hue which was a great contrast to the rest of the plants which still had green leaves. Did you all know that the samurai had a special entrance for esteemed guests when they invited them to their homes? For these important visitors there is always a small side door which leads directly to the garden. This is so that the guests see the best part of the house, the garden, first. Although we entered through the commoner’s entrance, we enjoyed the warm light by the engawa or the porch like esteemed samurai guests.

At the end of our tour, we headed to Kigami Shrine, where there is a famous painting of a roaring dragon. The color of the dragon is still vivid and colorful even after all these years. In Omori there are many temples and shrines even though it is such a small town. Apparently, this is because there used to be a lot of people living in Omori and it was to keep up with all the families who used to live here. Each family had to belong to some Buddhist temple or Shinto shrine, so the number of these building reflected the large population that used to be here. Although the population is not what used to be, the current population of residents are carefully maintain the townscape that contains all the history and culture.

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