Shikoku Mura is a village-modeled park spreading wide at the foot of Kagawa Prefecture's Mt. Yashima. The core of the village is the Shikoku Mura Museum, made up of 33 restored historic buildings relocated here from the four prefectures of Shikoku. The buildings include houses, workshops, community buildings, a theater, rice storehouses, a soy sauce brewery, and more. All were built during a period ranging from 1603 to 1926. Each one was used in real life. Years of the knowledge, labor, and prayers of the people who lived and worked in each building have seeped into every pillar, beam, and folk tool on display. A stroll through the rich natural scenery offers the soothing sound of seasonal birdsong and waterfalls, and may reveal something that might be lost from modern life. It could even help you rethink what it means to be truly happy.
Some spots of particular charm and interest include the Shikoku Mura Gallery, designed by Tadao Ando; the Shikoku Mura Waraya udon noodle shop converted from a kominka (old house); and the Shikoku Mura Cafe, housed in an old ijinkan (foreign residence) from Kobe.
The History of Shikoku Mura
  • 1975 - Waraya Opens
    Tatsuo Kato, the founder of Katolec Corporation, opened udon shop Waraya at the foot of Mt. Yashima as a secondary worksite for company employees, and moved a kominka (old house) from the Iya region of Tokushima to house it. Kato was enchanted by the traditional house’s beauty and began gathering old buildings to keep them from vanishing.
  • 1976 - Minka Hakubutsukan (Museum of Houses) Opens
    The owner of an adjacent plot came to share Tatsuo Kato's dream and donated the land to the project. Soon, the museum was officially founded.
    Shikoku Mura opened with 16 relocated and restored buildings spread out over a site of around 51,000 square meters.
    At the October 3 opening ceremony, Buddhist nun Jakucho Setouchi consecrated a stone Buddha statue by sculptor Masayuki Nagare, and there were speeches from artist and Kagawa Prefecture native Genichiro Inokuma and leading kominka researcher Teiji Ito.
  • 1996 - Kagaribi Kabuki
    A kabuki performance was held on the Shodoshima Island kabuki stage to celebrate the museum's 20th anniversary. On a summer night, lit by open fires, actor Sawamura Tojuro and others performed plays linked to the Genpei war period (around 1180), such as Heikegani. Kabuki performances continued until 1998, with appearances from noted kabuki performers like Nakamura Baigyoku, Ichikawa Somegoro (now Matsumoto Koshiro) and others.
  • 1998 - Todai Taisokujo Lighthouse Keepers’ Quarters Area Completed
    Shikoku Mura continued to gather buildings after it opened, but 1998 saw the completion of the Lighthouse Keepers’ Quarters, or Todai Taisokujo, restoration.
    These buildings served as both offices and living quarters for lighthouse keepers who watched over the Seto Inland Sea trade routes that helped drive Japan's modernization from the Meiji restoration of 1868. With this, the museum's building collection was essentially finished, and the Shikoku Mura museum achieved its current shape.
  • 2002 - Shikoku Mura Gallery Completed
    This solid, modern concrete structure designed by architect Tadao Ando was completed in 2002. It displays works of art from all over the world, including French paintings and Chinese guilt bronzes. The contrast between modern architecture and the surrounding kominka offers a new charm to Shikoku Mura.
  • 2011 - Official Benefit Corporation Recognition
    The museum was approved as an incorporated entity working for the purpose of high level contribution to the public interest.
  • 2019 - Setouchi Triennale 2019
    In 2019, for the first time the museum displayed works for the Setouchi Triennale, an international art festival which has occurred every three years since 2010. The Shikoku Mura Gallery also hosted an exhibition of Genichiro Inokuma's work, and other events coordinated with the Art Festival attracted many visitors from Japan and abroad.
  • 2022 - Reopening After Renovations, Completion of Oyanesan
    The new museum entrance building, Oyanesan, designed by Tokyo University Associate Professor Yoshiyuki Kawazoe, was completed. The museum also produced an explanatory video and audio guide to share information about the lifestyles of past generations of Shikoku, as well as redesigning the website and logo to serve this more international and diverse era.