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Step into History and Early Modern Japanese Architecture at the Folk Museum of Kawanishi

The Kyodokan Museum (Folk Museum of Kawanishi) is in a quiet residential area about a 15-minute walk from Nose Electric Railway Yamashita Station. The spacious facility holds many points of interest. Half a day here would allow you to explore at a leisurely pace. Let discover the charm of the Kyodokan Museum.

The Kyodokan Museum mainly consists of the “Former Heian Residence” (an early modern Japanese-style building) and the “Former Hiraga Residence” (a Western-style building), both of which are registered tangible cultural properties of Japan, as well as the Musée L’Espoir (an art museum) and the site of a former copper smelter.

〇Former Heian Residence (Nationally Registered Tangible Cultural Property)

The Former Heian Residence was the estate of the Heian family who once ran the copper smelter. This mid- Taisho era building (1910s) blends characteristics of traditional private houses in the northern Hanshin area and a type of architecture inspired by the tea ceremony called Sukiya zukuri. With 11 rooms, it is very large. Through the reception in the drawing room, the inner entrance hall is visible, followed by the main house, a
courtyard, bath, warehouse, and a separate detached building.

The floor of the 10m-long corridor is made of a single board! The windows made of glass handmade in the Taisho era (1912-1926) did not break even in the Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake in 1995.

In the courtyard you can feel the elegant ambience of a Japanese garden.

The washroom space remains as it was at that time, and the facilities bear the old TOTO trademark. This trademark was used in products between 1921 and 1928 and is found on only a few existing products today.

A bath for guests. The use of tiles in bathrooms and washrooms is one of the characteristics of early modern homes. The green wall tiles in the bathroom are Japanese majolica tiles.

The warehouse is used as an exhibition space.

The Chopsticks Exhibition Room displays the collection of Mr. Hachiro Isshiki, who lived in Kawanishi City.

There is also a space to exhibit materials related to mining.

The Former Heian Residence is also the filming location of the NHK morning TV series “Carnation.”

〇The Former Hiraga Residence (Nationally Registered Tangible Cultural Property)

The Western-style Former Hiraga Residence was built along the Ina-gawa River in 1918 by the chemist Dr. Yoshimi Hiraga, then relocated and reconstructed at the Kyodo Museum in 1990. In the style of an old English farm house, the building is a nationally registered tangible cultural property, recognized for its importance in the history of modern Japanese architecture.

Inside the building, there are many rooms including a guest room, study, and bedroom, with bay windows and a fireplace, all designed according to the English style. The elegant interior creates a calm atmosphere.

Playing card motifs are inlaid at some points in the room. Look carefully to find them.

overlook fascinating details such as the diamond-shaped windows set parallel to the inclination of the stairs and the lamps depicting the three most scenic spots in Japan.

On the 2nd floor of the Experimental Research Building is an exhibit introducing Dr. Hiraga and the history of his

The Former Hiraga Residence is also used as a filming location for TV dramas and movies.

〇Heian Smelter Remains

The slope behind the Former Heian Residence is the site of the Heian Smelter Remains. Silver and copper veins spread throughout the northern​ Hanshin area, and on this premises, copper was extracted from ore dug out of the Tada Silver Copper Mine until around1935.

Also, within the grounds of the Kyodokan Museum is the Aoki and Hiradori Dual Museum, the Musée L’Espoir. This two-story reinforced concrete modern building has a modern looking exterior in the shape of a spiral cylinder. L’Espoir means hope in French. Inside, the works of two painters with a connection to Kawanishi City, Daijo Aoki, a Japanese style painter, and a Western style artist, Takeo Hiradori, are on permanent display.
Address: 4-1 Gezai-cho, Kawanishi City, Hyogo
Access: 15-minute walk from Nose Electric Railway Yamashita Station
Opening hours: From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (admission is until 4 p.m.)
Closed: Monday (If Monday falls on a national holiday, the next day)
Admission fee: General 300 yen

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