Discovering samurai, industrialists and eggplants in Aki!
Easily accessible via the scenic Gomen-Nahari Line that runs along the Pacific Ocean coast, the former castle town of Aki has a long and colorful history. The Doi Kachu area is like an architectural time capsule where you will find well-preserved samurai houses with bamboo hedges lining narrow paths. One of the houses is also open to the public for free, and once inside, you will really feel as though you’ve traveled back in time
Fun fact! Aki is the hometown of one of Japan’s most influential industrialists named Yataro Iwasaki who founded Mitsubishi Group. As an ambitious young man, Yataro knew that the secret to true power was education, so he studied his way to laying the foundations for what would later become a global business enterprise. You can still visit his childhood home (open between 8AM and 5PM), which shows his humble beginnings. Keep your eye out for the ridge-end tile roof and see if you can spot the Iwasaki family crest. This design is incorporated in the famous three-diamond logo of Mitsubishi Group today
Another legacy of Aki is Uchiharano pottery. Its origin dates back to 1829 when a local lord in Aki discovered the availability of high-quality clay in the area and invited a Kyoto potter to teach locals how to make good use of it. These ceramics have warm and rustic characteristics, using glazes made from wood and straw ash. Come visit Uchiharano Tougeikan and make your one-of-a-kind pottery under the guidance of friendly staff
With its mild climate, long hours of sunlight and fertile soil, Aki City is one of Japan’s leading producers of eggplants. If you see it on the menu while visiting this area (and you will), I highly recommend giving it a taste