Historical Kabashima Residence Public Viewing
This two-story wooden building constructed in approximately 1897 served as the primary residence for the Mitsuiki family. The structures, including the main residence, warehouses, gates, and fences, from late Meiji to early Taisho era have been well maintained. In every corner of the property, fine workmanship of joinery craftsmen, plaster craftsmen, and painters of the time can be seen, not to mention glass with engraved family crests, columns of bamboo and plum, and much more. Visitors will appreciate the technical skills and the combination of premodern and modern high-quality features that make this private residence in Itoshima a fascinating example of mixed traditional and modern Japanese-style architecture. Purchased in 2014 and since maintained by Zentetsu Kabashima (80), the warehouse is used as a Zen temple for the practice of zazen (meditation). Interestingly, there’s also a piano and chandelier. As you’ll see, this place is full of surprises! Inside the main residence, each room is filled with treasures from the past. Tapestries, wall paintings, ceramics, lacquerware, textiles, tea ceremony tools, Buddhist altars, fragrance boxes, wood block prints, and the list goes on. Some items have been placed in wooden and glass displays and can be comfortably viewed while seated in chairs. Zentetsu has a small atrium inside the house where he spins pottery and enjoys oil painting. Self-service green is available. Most items are labeled in Japanese so go with a bilingual friend if you cannot read Japanese.
• 101 Nijo-tanaka, Itoshima
• Open: 10:00~16:00 (last entry 15:00) Sat., Sun., & hol. until Dec. 16, 2018
• Entrance: ¥500
• Closest station: JR Ikisan Sta.
Tucked back in a corner of Itoshima Picnic Village, immediately across from Keya no Oto sits Miwa Nakamura’s old American camping trailer. Inside are displays of her dried fruits and vegetables, drink and ice cream menu. Nakamura is a native of Keya who stumbled upon making dried fruits, but soon realized it was a way to help nearby growers. In 2016 she established her business and uses specialized equipment to make dried fruits and vegetables from seasonal produce supplied to her by farmers in Itoshima. Her shop is only open on weekends and she also sells online. She uses only Itoshima grown produce. Amaou strawberries are her best seller, followed by shiranui (a citrus similar to dekopon). Small bags are ¥250~, and larger ones are ¥500 and ¥600. Try her vegetable soup mixes too! For eat in, she offers a sundae with granola and her dried fruit as well as soft ice cream.
• 741-1 Shima-keya, Itoshima (inside Itoshima Picnic Village)
• Open: 11:00~17:00 Sat., Sun., & hol.
• Closed: irregular, call before going
• Tel.: 090-5282-4981
It’s very fitting indeed for this second generation framer’s shop to be located in such a picturesque location. The sight of this two-story building with its spacious green yard and private sandy beach is a worthy visit on its own. On the ground floor, Tomoyuki Ishikawa makes custom frames for paintings, photographs, and whatever customers want, while on the second floor his wife cuts hair. Ishikawa’s good sense doesn’t end with his frames. He’s also the curator of the shop filled with an eclectic and an unique collection of furnishings, art, and accessories.
Recently, more and more non-Japanese are discovering what a wonderful place Itoshima is to live and visit. But thanks to Studio Kura and their popular artist in residence program, at least 300 artists from 30 different countries have enjoyed one to three month stays here since 2007. Studio Kura is a collection of three traditional Japanese rural houses located in a quiet residential area near expansive rice fields and with a view of the mountains. The beach is a short bicycle ride away too! Residents receive support from the organizers to produce their own exhibition towards the end of their stay, but they also have plenty of free time to create art and see the sights of Itoshima. Studio Kura also offers art classes such as creative arts, painting, and electronic arts for adults and children. Visitors are welcome only on either the 3rd or 4th weekend of the month. Check their website before going.
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Originally published in Fukuoka Now Magazine (fn239, Nov. 2018)