Fukiya Homes

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Fukiya 吹屋
is one of seven villages in Okayama Prefecture designated as a "Hometown Village". Fukiya's most characteristic feature is the uniformity of its architecture. The streets are lined with old homes and storefronts with burnt-red and mustard-colored walls of bengara,black siding charred to protect against the elements and rooftops of distinctive calico brown and red tiles.

The ambience of an coppermining town still remains in the hometown village of Fukiya. The characteristics of this 19th century town are evident in the rust-colored walls of the buildings which line the narrow streets. An abundance of historic sites entice visitors all year long.

Bengara is a type of red pigment. Its main ingredient is iron oxide, and it is known for its strong tinting power and durability. The name is a corruption of Bengal, in India, where it was originally made. Bengara was used for painting porcelain ware, for rustproofing ships, and as a coloring agent in architecture.

The bengara pigment produced in Fukiya was known as "the red among reds" and was traded throughout Japan. It was celebrated as far away as Scandinavia as the red used for renowned Kutani and Imari porcelain ware. Due to the high demand for bengara, traders and producers such as the Nishie family were able to amass enormous fortunes.

New technologies developed following the end of World War II, however, enabled high-quality bengara to be produced easily, leading to the decline of bengara production in Fukiya and the eventual closing of the copper mines there.

Today, bengara is synthetically produced in chemical plants, but it is said that the red color thus obtained cannot match that of Fukiya's famed bengara.

© Fukiya International Village


101 Fukiya street

107 home

Children make a woodblock calendar every year
to re-enforce their eye for the rural beauty

088 children make a woodblock calendar

105 gables

103 gables

116 magnolia and homes

116 more homes

106 cherry tree and electricity pole

The Daruma Store

113 Daruma store

The Hirokane Residence in Fukiya

Fukiya Shrine

Haiku about Fukiya

Takahashi and Fukiya Hanami 2008

Read my Haiku Archives


In May 2010, the village announced its special food of the area

bengara karee ベンガラカレー Bengara Curry

It comes in two versions Black or Red, trying to imitate the bengara colors of the village.
red is made with powder of red paprika.
black is made with ink from squid (ikasumi イカ墨).

bengara udon ベンガラうどん

. WASHOKU : Regional dishes from Okayama  



. Regional Folk Toys from Japan .


1 comment:

News said...

Oldest wooden schoolhouse closes

Japan's oldest wooden schoolhouse has closed after more than a century.
The Fukiya Elementary School in Okayama Prefecture, western Japan, was built in 1900. It was forced to close due to a drop in student numbers.

The school held its final graduation ceremony on Tuesday, handing diplomas to three six-graders.
Each student made a brief speech. One said she will never forget the time she spent with friends in the school building. Another said she is proud to be one of the institution's last graduates.

The participants then sang the school song, accompanied by an organ bought the year the schoolhouse was built.
Later in the day, the school held a closing ceremony. The school flag was returned to the city's board of education.
The schoolhouse will be preserved as a cultural property. A monument bearing the name of the school was unveiled near the front of the building.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012