Exploring Obi Castle
Exploring Obi Castle

Exploring Obi Castle

Introduction to Obi Castle

Walking through castles has never been this fun before I visited Obi castle. With over 14 generations of rulership, Obi castle definitely left an imprint in Miyazaki prefecture. The castle grounds itself, although renovated, was not destroyed like other castles. It was left standing, a monumental symbol that fills the locals with pride for their town. Make sure to bring your camera with extra batteries because you are going to want to take lots of photos. Anywhere from enjoying a lovely walk in the castle’s garden, eating Obi’s very own “obi-ten,” a type of fish cake, or even doing “shihan-mato” a Miyazaki-ken style of archery. There are various attractions to feed everyone’s needs.

  • by Giovanni Perez

  • I have been traveling all around Tohoku for about 5 years, taking photos and connecting with the locals. My next adventure is to learn about how to become a samurai in Kyushu!

Table of Contents

  1. 1. Obi Castle
  2. 2min. Walk
  3. 2. Yoshou-Kan
  4. 1min. Walk
  5. 3. Matu-no-maru
  6. 5min. Walk
  7. 4. Obi-ten Kura
  8. about 30min. Walk
  9. 5. The Outskirts of Obi Castle
  10. about 30min. Walk
  11. 6. Shi han Mato
  12. 3min. Walk
  13. 7. Samurai’s House Stay
Attraction Obi Castle
Location 10-1 Obi, Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-2535
Operating Hours Depends on the attraction
Closed N/A
Phone 0987-31-1134 Nichinan Board of Tourism
URL https://www.kankou-nichinan.jp/tourisms/375(Japanese site)

Yoshou-kan

Spacious Garden

Imagine being kicked out of your own house that has been passed down for more than generations. Well that is exactly what happened to the Itoh clan’s lord. After the restoration of the Meiji period, the Lord had to beat it. He decided to build an establishment right outside the castle’s gates. You quickly realize that no ordinary person lived on these grounds because as soon as you enter the lord’s living area, you are immediately greeted with an extremely beautifully kept garden walkway. You see a building off to the distance but before you even get there you need to walk on stones, placed out for your feet to step on. There is green everywhere, I am not talking about money, I am talking about leaves, trees, branches. The view was something only experienced in a movie. It is hard to believe that all of this only cost you 600 yen to see. The weather that day was perfect to take as many pictures as we can. The scenery was extravagant, so much so that you felt like you were in a resort.

After spending about an hour of just trying to take as many photos as possible, we needed to still walk around the Lord’s living quarters. There is a room next to the Lord’s house that was made recently to take a rest and drink some cold coffee, perfect for Miyazaki’s hot weather. For those interested in wearing kimono, you can do so here as well.

After taking a small coffee break from the thousands of photos I took, we moved on to the other remaining buildings that were a little secluded. This is when I found out that Obi-town is also known for its wood. Obi wood well-known throughout Japan and ranks up with some of the top woods to use in Japan. Being able to have your own house built in Obi wood would be an excellent idea, but it might cost you an arm and a leg. A great alternative would be to come and Obi town and walk around the castle itself!

Attraction Yoshou-Kan
Location 9-1-1 Obi, Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-2535
Operating Hours Depends on the attraction
Closed N/A
Phone 0987-31-1134 Nichinan Board of Tourism
URL https://www.kankou-nichinan.jp/tourisms/375(Japanese site)

Matsu no Maru

Obi's Various Museums

Start your exploring engines! For only 600 yen get full access to the museum, The lord’s sleeping quarters (pre edo period), and the lords sleeping quarters(post edo period). You enter through a big gate that connects the road with a small bridge. As soon as you enter, you immediately are facing a humongous wall that hides the castle from being seeing directly. There are these big stairs that you take to get to the castle. There is a small forest-like patch of land that is full of 100 year cedar trees (obi wood). A great place for a frolic session, you continue your way to the castle museum. Inside the museum you see a variety of artifacts that represent the history of Obi throughout is many generations.

A rickshaw was an artifact that stuck out to me the most because the one that the Obi lords used was special. It was bigger than a typical rickshaw and took more people to carry. Wouldn’t you like to be carried around to your next destination? The different armor that was used to classify ranks or the various types of katanas that were wielded for protection are just some of the interesting objects you come across. If you call in ahead of a time, it would be possible to get an English guided tour, so that you can understand exactly what you are seeing.

Matsuo-no-maru was the original location of The Lord’s living quarters. A lodging paradise filled with many rooms to relax in, drink tea, welcome guests, and soak up in a man-made sauna. Although every ruler may have their own special sleeping quarters nothing beats the other castles than having your own sauna, something that was rare at the time.

Make sure to bring a pair of good shoes because there is quite a bit of walking but you will definitely not want to go home after visiting Obi Castle.

Attraction Matsu no Maru
Location 10-1 Obi, Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-2535
Operating Hours Depends on the attraction
Closed N/A
Phone 0987-31-1134 Nichinan Board of Tourism
URL https://www.kankou-nichinan.jp/tourisms/375(Japanese site)

Obi-ten Kura

Obi Famous Food

By the time you get through about half of Obi castle, you are going to be hungry. It’s a good idea to stop at one of the castles restaurant located close to the parking lot. A must have is Obi’s very own “Obi-ten” A fish like sponge cake that taste deliciously sweet. The restaurant also has other foods such as soba or tempura (fried vegetables) but you need to try the Obi-ten. Trust me, you are going to want take some home after you take your first bite! Attached to the restaurant is an obi-ten making station as well as a souvenir shop with various trinkets you can purchase for gifts.

Attraction Obi-ten Kura
Location 9-1-8 Obi, Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-2535
Operating Hours 9:00 - 17:00
Closed N/A
Phone 0987-25-5717
URL https://tabelog.com/miyazaki/A4501/A450101/45000274/

The Outskirts of Obi Castle

Traditional Old-Buildings

There are as many attractions to see inside as there are outside the castle grounds. If you are facing Obi Castle’s entrance gate, make a right and keep walking straight down history lane. Various Itoh clan families lived in all of these buildings as well as a Samurai school. For visitors to truly experience Samurai culture, efforts to preserve the buildings have made sure that little to no reservations have taken place. Some of these historical buildings have also been turned into Cafe, souvenir shops, restaurants, and many more. You are free to roam around any of the houses that are open as well, for free!

It was surreal to see how Samurai lived during the reign of the Itoh clan. Beautiful gardens, intricate architecture, and welcoming locals are what made feel right at home. There are so many houses to see, and with each house being completely different you will not get bored.

For those on a budget or for those who are into Samurai, I recommend taking a stroll down this path into the lives of the Itoh.

Attraction The Outskirts of Obi Castle
Location 10-1 Obi, Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-2535
Operating Hours Depends on the attraction
Closed N/A
Phone 0987-25-4533
URL N/A

Shi han Mato

Sit-Down Japanese Archery

Too tired from exploring all of Obi Castle, no problem ! You can still enjoy “Shi-han Mato,” Miyazaki style Japanese archery while sitting down. The idea of doing archery while sitting down comes from the Shimazu clan which is now modern day Miyazaki. The Shimazu Lord wanted to have his peasants be able to wield a weapon to help during war times but also didn’t want for anyone to overthrow him as well. This is why doing archery while sitting down was ideal.

Even though you are not planning on overthrowing any ruler you can attempt to shoot straight at the Archery grounds close to where you ate obi-ten (the delicious fish cake). The bow is relatively small compared to regular Japanese archery (kyudo) and the arrows about 40 inches (1 meter) long. Your target is about 27 feet (8.2 meter) away from your seated position.

The instructor was extremely kind to us and took his time trying to teach us how to properly hold the bow. Believe it or not, it is pretty easy to shoot the arrows directly at the target. Originally, you are supposed to drink alcohol and shoot while you practice but we you can skip that part for now.

Attraction Shi han Mato
Location 10-1 Obi, Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-2535
Operating Hours Upon reservation
Closed N/A
Phone N/A
URL https://en.stayjapan.com/area/miyazaki/nichinan/pr/1842

Samurai's House Stay

Obi-Murasaki Stay

If you are going to explore the town of Obi, I reccommend staying here → https://en.stayjapan.com/area/miyazaki/nichinan/pr/1842. It used to be the sleeping quarters of a Samurai but has been renovated for guest such as yourself to stay in. Although Obi town is kind of secluded from society, we were still able to find places to eat and drink the night away. A short walk will take you to a small street that has various restaurants to choose from.

After you fill your bellies with deliciousness, you can make your way to your stay and enjoy a huge area to sleep in. The house itself can fit up to 9 people comfortably. The house itself has antic items that have been preserved to be put on display throughout the house. One of the neat feature about staying here is that it has Karaoke. Don’t think that falls under the antique category but it sure is fun to sing the night away. The bathroom is also spacious and wide and can easily fit two adults at the same time.

My favorite area to relax was near the living room close to the large windows facing outside towards the garden. This spot in particular is perfect for your morning reads or for taking a small cat nap. But wait, there’s more!

You can actually get to Obi Castle from here in about 30 seconds. Exit the house, make a left at the street light that is close to the house, and voila, welcome to Obi Castle.

Attraction Samurai’s House Stay
Location 10-1 Obi, Nichinan City, Miyazaki Prefecture 889-2535
Operating Hours Upon reservation
Closed N/A
Phone N/A
URL https://en.stayjapan.com/area/miyazaki/nichinan/pr/1842

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