At the original site of Japan's education for common people
see a National Treasure Structure and history
(c) Okayama-ken Kanko RenmeiShizutani School is Japan's oldest school for educating common people, built in 1670. It was built under the orders of Ikeda Mitsumasa, the head of the former Okayama feudal domain (the governmental district head in that era). Samurai children and common children could obtain the same education. At that time, the domain school was under Okayama Castle, which was the place of study mainly for common people.
The building one can see today is the form which was completed in 1701, about 300 years ago. It's stone wall is Tang style (Chinese style at that time. There was an era when China was called Tang). And its roof tiles are called bizen ware pottery, so the building has a sense of refinement everywhere. The auditorium is a National Treasure. The shrine worshipping Confucious (Chinese thinker and philosopher who founded Confucianism), the Shizutani Shinto Shrine, and most of its buildings are designated as Important Cultural Properties of the Nation.
As the original site of education for Japan's common people, these buildings are worth seeing. They are also located at a tranquil hidden spot, with a natural richness colored by trees and flowers. In the season of autumn red leaves, many people come to see the red leaves of the surrounding Ginkgo and Maple trees. The yellow-red leaves of the Kai trees (Chinese Pistachio trees) planted in front of the temple may especially catch your eye. You can enjoy the combination of historical buildings, and nature changing through the four seasons.
Address: 784 Shizutani, Bizen City, Okayama
Phone: 0869-67-1436 (Special Historical Site Management Office)
Hours open to visitors: 9:00 to 17:00 (last entry 16:30)
Admission Fee: Adult 400 yen, 65 or older 200 yen, elementary and junior high students 100 yen
Closed: December 29 to 31
Directions: JR Sanyo Main Line, Yoshinaga Station (1 hour 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka), then 8 minutes by car