Some miles north of Hiroshima, lies a small village with a rich history that leaves a nostalgic feeling to its visitors, the Omori Town in Oda, Shimane. Before becoming a World Heritage Site in 2007, Omori has been registered as a Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings. The whole of Omori Town is a single street, just half a kilometer long. The street composes of houses, shops, temples, and shrines that run along the river valley to the north of the mines. While there are a few modern buildings scattered throughout, pretty much all you can see in the distance are historic buildings. What makes Omori more interesting is the fact that the power and telephone lines have all been buried underground so you can’t see any tangle of wires and poles unlike other parts of Japan.
Today, Omori is a town for many historical sites while some houses are still home to some of the town’s current residents. Some of the preserved homes, on the other hand, are now open as museums for the public to explore.
Former Magistrate’s Office (Iwami Ginzan Museum)
The building used to be the office of the shogun’s local representative. Now, it is renovated as a museum to exhibit the history of Iwami’s silver mines. You can visit the museum every day (except Wednesdays from Dec – Feb) from 9:00 to 17:00 for a 550 yen fee. You can also check their official website for more information.
This is the largest house in Omori town which used to be the residence of a leading merchant and town official and his family. The house was renovated and has a lot of activities offered for the visitors. You can visit the building from 9:30 to 17:00 every day except last Tuesday of the month and on the New Years Holiday with an admission fee of 520 yen (320 yen for foreign tourists). You can find more information from their official website.
This is the former home of the town’s samurais back in the days. You can visit the house from 9:00 to 16:30 every day for a fee of 200 yen. The house still has its traditional elements like its old front gate and rear-situated toilets. The house provides an insight into the living conditions of contemporary high-ranking samurai. The house is open all year round except New Year Holidays. You can find more information from their official website.
Kigami Shrine is located at the north end of the town. The shrine has a dragon painting on its ceiling that echoes like the roar of the dragon when you clap your hands under it. The shrine is always open to the public and there is no admission fee to visit the place. A typical visit takes around 5 to 10 minutes.
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