Fukiya Furusato Village: The history of Bengara, the copper-colored town│Okayama Japan

Fukiya Furusato Village is an attractive tourist destination located in Okayama, surrounded by its beautiful townscape and history.

Furthermore, it has been designated as a National Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings and has been recognized as a Japanese Heritage Site.

In this article, let’s take a closer look at the charm and history of Fukiya Furusato Village, and explore its appeal as a tourist destination worth visiting.


Overview and characteristics of Fukiya Furusato Village

Fukiya Furusato Village is a beautiful town in the Chugoku Mountains located in Okayama.

This town was built by wealthy merchants who amassed great wealth from the production of Bengara and its raw material, Loha.

What is noteworthy is that the townscape of Fukiya is unified with impressive red copper-colored stone tiles and red-colored exteriors.

This is due to the fact that the entire town was built under a unified concept after consulting wealthy merchants, which was surprising at the time.

When you visit this town, you will see elaborately designed mansions of wealthy merchants and beautiful architecture.
It is also designated as Okayama Prefecture’s “Furusato Village” and is well worth a visit.

What is Bengara?

Bengara is a red pigment and abrasive made from minerals (iron oxide).
It was built in Fukiya (present-day Takahashi City, Okayama Prefecture) as a byproduct of a mine that produced copper.

The pigment is known as “vermilion”, a traditional Japanese coloring technique, and was used in ceramics, artwork, traditional Japanese paintings, and even to paint Fukiya houses.

Bengara has a very long history, and ore mining and red iron production have been carried out in various regions of Japan.

In particular, the area around Fukiya Furusato Village is famous for the production of Bengara, which had a major impact on the local economy and became a factor in the wealth of many wealthy merchants.

Due to its beautiful red color and historical value, Bengara plays an extremely important role in traditional Japanese crafts and art, and Fukiya Furusato Village offers art experiences using Bengara.

The history and cultural importance of Bengara is one of the attractive factors for tourists visiting Fukiya Furusato Village.

Houses and townscapes of wealthy merchants

What is unique about Fukiya Furusato Village is that the entire town was built under a unified concept, rather than each mansion being individually ornate.

From the end of the Edo period to the Meiji period, the wealthy owners of Fukiya invited the head carpenters of temple carpenters to unify architecture from Sekishu.

This advanced architectural philosophy has succeeded in giving the townscape of Fukiya a beautiful sense of unity.

Fukiya Hometown Village Certification and Title

Fukiya Furusato Village was recognized as a hometown village of Okayama Prefecture in 1972, and in 1972, it was designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs as a nationally important preservation district for groups of traditional buildings.

Then, on June 19, 2020, it was designated as a Japanese Heritage Site as the “Birthplace of Japan Red – Bengara and the Town of Copper, Bicchu Fukiya”.

These certifications and titles demonstrate the value and historical importance of Fukiya Furusato Village.

Bengala Art Experience and Sightseeing Spots

One of the popular activities at Fukiya Furusato Village is the Bengara Art experience.

Tourists who visit can have the fun experience of making handkerchiefs and bags using Red Garla paint.

Basic information about “Fukiya Furusato Village”

InfoFukiya Furusato Village
 838-2 Fukiya, Nariwacho, Takahashi City,
 Okayama Prefecture
Parking lot
 Parking available
Telephone number

Restaurant search/reservation

Have a great trip with delicious food!

Surrounding touring spots

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