Travel Back in Time: Utsunomiya’s Long and Rich History by Venice Aka
About this Utsunomiya City Local Travel Guide
This Utsunomiya City local travel guide for history is for those looking for historical places to visit near Tokyo. The city has a long history in Japanese religion and warfare, which I find fascinating. Here are a few must-see historical spots for those who wish to learn more about what it was like during Japan’s early times.
Who is this travel guide for?
This Utsunomiya City travel guide for history is aimed towards the casual traveller of any age. Above all, those that enjoy history.
¥4,000 – ¥6,000 per person
Blast From the Past
The Old Shinohara Family House is a black traditional Japanese-style house near JR Utsunomiya station. It was an old merchant’s house which operated way back around the Edo period. It’s interesting to see old structures like the wooden staircase with drawers and secret doors for transactions. In addition, you can also see how wealthy people used to live in the past. The old house is a quick 3-minute walk from the JR Utsunomiya Station’s West Exit.
Fee: 100JPY(cash) Time: 9 AM-5 PM
A Thousand Six-Hundred-Year-Old Shrine
Established around 400AD, Futaarayama Shrine is approximately 1,600 years old and is one of the oldest structures in Utsunomiya City. It’s located at the centre of the city and has a huge tori gate leading to a staircase going up to the main shrine. It is also home to 12 “Massha” or sub-shrines like the Hatsutatsu Inari Shrine at the left side of the main shrine. It’s also the centre of big festivals held in Utsunomiya like the yearly Miya-matsuri. Fee: Free, Office hours : 8:30 AM-3:50 PM
The Center of Utsunomiya’s First Towns
The first stable settlement in the city was said to be around the Utsunomiya Castle Park Ruins lead by the Utsunomiya Clan. You can visit the park’s museum and learn about early settlements, festivals, and the urban legends about this place. You can also go up to the walls and take a peek at one of the castle’s reconstructed areas. It is also surrounded by beautiful cherry trees that bloom during springtime.
Museum fee: 100JPY(cash) Time: 9 AM-7 PM
A Church Made of Oya Stone
Matsugamine Catholic Church is a hundred-year-old church and just a 5-minute walk from Tobu Utsunomiya Station. Most importantly, the building is quite a charmer due to its structure made with Oya stone, a famous local stone mined in Utsunomiya. Everyone is free to enter the church and look around its beautiful architecture. The Church’s English masses are held every 1st and 3rd Sunday at 2 PM. Fee: free
Utsunomiya’s Ancient Village
Negoyadai Ruins is an archaeological site excavated during 1982-1986, where prehistoric signs of dwellings were found. The reconstructed village is made to look like the original “Jomon” settlement (14,000-1,000BC) . You can enter and view several huts and get that feeling of being in an ancient village. Fee: free
Walking on Fire
Sobayagura is probably one of the most popular ramen shops amongst foreigners here in Utsunomiya. They have this insanely huge chasu or pork slices on their ramen and it tastes amazingly good and the texture is so soft. That is to say, my personal favourite is the shoyu (soy sauce) based ramen.
1,000-1,500 per person.
Location : Google Map
Western / Other
Local writer: Venice is a former flight attendant and now YouTuber who loves exploring and adventure. She has been to 20 countries and has a fascination with Japanese culture and history. She moved to Japan two years ago with her husband and is now making videos about her travel experiences around the country.
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