Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Culture Experiences In Hiroshima - Wear A Kimono And Play The Koto!
Written by MATCHA-PR
Fukujukaikan Hall is a cultural facility in Fukuyama city, Hiroshima prefecture, where visitors can enjoy experiencing various aspects of Japanese culture such as playing the koto, wearing a kimono, calligraphy or tea ceremony.
Fukuyama City - The Treasure of Hiroshima
Located on the eastern side of Hiroshima prefecture, Fukuyama city has been thriving as castle town since the Edo Period. It is also known as a popular tourist site. Famous sites include the symbolic Fukuyama castle that stands in the middle of the city, Tomonoura, known as a scenic spot, and the Myoo-in Temple that has been designated as a national treasure.
The southern side of Fukuyama city faces the Seto Inland Sea. Thanks to its location near the sea, Fukuyama is known for its seafood and delicious red snapper sashimi.
Fukuyama station is a stop on the Sanyo Bullet train line and it has great access from major cities like Hiroshima and Osaka. It is approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes from Tokyo Station, but from Hakata Station in the Kyushu region, you can reach Fukuyama in only an hour and a half.
Fukuyama city is widely known for its koto (Japanese harp) production and approximately 70% of the kotos in Japan are made in this very city. At the Fukujukaikan Hall, you can experience traditional Japanese arts that have flourished in Fukuyama. This is a perfect place for those looking for a cultural experience off the beaten path or a little more than just sightseeing.
What is Fukujukaikan?
Fukujukaikan is a facility where various types of cultural activities are held. Located right next to the Fukuyama Castle, the Fukujukaikan consists of the Japanese Hall and the Western Hall (both classified as important cultural properties of Japan) along with two tea rooms and an inner garden.
The main hall is constructed using the traditional Sukiya style structure that contains elements of an authentic tea house. Inside the hall are rooms with tatami mat floors and an alcove. Many people are able to visit at once and at times, tea ceremonies are held for the citizens of the town.
One of the charms of the Fukujukaikan Hall is the picturesque sight of the garden facing the south where the Fukuyama Castle can be seen in the distance.
The Western hall is a refined building where a classy cafe can be found on the first floor. It is a wonderful place to enjoy a drink or a meal in the relaxing and elegant atmosphere. A recommended dish you can savor in this cafe is a local dish of Fukuyama, the Uzumi-gohan (*1).
You can take a stroll freely in the beautiful Japanese garden with a pond in the center. The well-maintained pine trees and the seasonal flowers create a lovely Japanese scenery.
*1 Uzumi-gohan: ”Uzumi” means to bury or to hide. The name of this dish comes from the Edo period when thrift orders took place and people hid other ingredients inside the rice to avoid the laws.
Various Japanese Cultural Activites at Fukujukaikan
At Fukujukaikan, you are able to experience a variety of Japanese cultural activities held by instructors from Fukuyama. Each activity is limited to one group and classes vary from the Japanese koto harp, songs and dances for a Noh performance, or even attend a tea ceremony while wearing a rare kimono.
At Fukujukaikan there are friendly English-speaking staff, who will assist the visitors in making the most of their Japanese culture experiences.
Fukujikaikan is a wonderful place where you can get a deep understanding of Japanese culture and spend an enjoyable time. You can actually play the koto harp to hear for yourself the sounds that can be created with it or wear a rare kimono and understand the meanings behind the intricate designs, and more.
Let us introduce to you two cultural activites you can experience at the Fukujukaikan Hall.
Learn To Play One Song! A One-Hour Koto Experience
With this area being a major producer of Japanese harps, learning to play a real koto in Fukuyama is a wonderful opportunity.
The koto is an ancient string instrument of Japan and creates a beautiful sound that captivates its listeners with a distinctive charm. Perhaps you may have listened to the sound of the koto or seen a performance in videos or recordings, but the chances to actually see or play one outside of Japan are really scarce. Even in Japan, it is not easy to find a place to actually touch or experience performing on one.
At Fukujukaikan you can learn how to play the koto from an experienced instructor. In one hour, you will be able to learn what kind of instrument the koto is, how to actually play it, and even to learn how to play a short song!
First, you will place the plectra on your fingers and gently touch the strings to listen to the different sounds each one makes.
Next, following the instructions of your instructor, you will play the notes in the order required by the piece you will learn to play.
A member of the staff will be right by your side interpreting the instructions given by your teacher.
After practicing for an hour with helpful assistance, you will be able to play a short popular Japanese song.
In the end, your teacher will play the song with you! Enjoy to the beautiful harmony of the two kotos and the depth of their sounds.
Through this experience, you will be able to enjoy the koto in many ways.
Select Your Favorite One! Kimono Dress-up Experience
Perhaps many of you admire the traditional and beautiful kimonos and would like to wear one during your stay in Japan. At the Fukujukaikan Hall, you will not only be able to wear a kimono, but also learn about the different types of kimono, how to select the patterns and how to wear a kimono as well.
Japanese kimonos can be worn in the basic dressing style or in a more complicated style that can only be seen on special occasions. At Fukujukaikan, you can meet professional dressers with years of experience who have studied the traditional kimono culture. They will help you dress up and introduce you to the history and culture of the kimono.
First, you will be selecting a kimono you like from the many gorgeous kimonos available. Your instructor will be assisting you to find one that best suits you.
Then, the transformation begins. There are rules in dressing, such as adjusting the kimono to the appropriate length and how to tie the obi. First-time kimono wearers may be surprised at the techniques of the professional dressers.
Watch the simple sash called obijime turn instantly into a decorative tie!
The back of the obi sash is made into the shape of a rose! The reason behind this special shape is that the rose is the flower symbol of Fukuyama! See how detailed and artistic it is up close.
After your transformation, you may stroll around the garden in your kimono. The staff will guide you while explaining the charms of the garden and sharing fun cultural stories about the area.
The best spot to take a photo is the area where you can see the Fukuyama Castle from the garden. Why not take a picture here as a keepsake of your memorable visit to Fukujukaikan?
Next time you visit Hiroshima, we warmly recommend you stop by Fukuyama to enjoy the unique cultural experiences available at the Fukujukaikan Hall. Along with kimono wearing, tea ceremony, and calligraphy, you can even play the koto harp, an item that is representative of Fukuyama's culture. Fukuyama is a wonderful place to experience the culture of Japan and would most likely become one of the unforgettable destinations of your trip.
EXPERIENCE FUKUYAMA - Japanese Culture Experiences
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