The 51,000 koku Obi Castle Town
The moss-covered stone walls, broad stone steps in front of the Ote-mon main gate, moat ruins, and old samurai residences all bring back the past, as they once served as the symbol of the powerful Itou Family.
The Matsuo-no-Maru residence and Ote-mon gate have been reconstructed using Obi’s famously beautiful cedar wood. The castle and its surrounding territory, such as samurai homes representing the gates and the stately stone wall, have also been designated as one of Japan’s Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings in 1977.
Obi Castle Town
Obi flourished as the Itou Family’s 51,000 koku castle town from 1588 in the Tensho Era to the start of the Meiji Era, for 280 years. During this time period, a koku, part of the “kokudaka system” was used as a way to measure the wealth of a domain by its capacity to grow rice. One koku of rice today is the equivalent to roughly 180 liters.
The Obi Castle Historical Museum exhibits valuable artifacts that tell the Ito Family’s history, as well as that of the buildings that comprise the Obi Castle estate, including Matsuo-no-Maru, the domain school Shintokudo, and most notably, the Ote-mon Gate, rebuilt in 1978.
The Edo period atmosphere of the merchant town’s main street allows visitors to feel as though they’ve stepped back in time. Some old merchant shops decorate their storefronts with old cask barrels, and others with latticed windows covered in traditional garden lanterns. Traditional Japanese parasols line the streets, adding to the old-world feel of Obi, alongside the crystal-clear waterways winding through the town.
10 Obi, Nichinan-shi, Miyazaki