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Imai-cho

 

Imai Heading

Enjoy Imai-choGeneral Information | Pamphlet & Map Download

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There was a famous saying in the past that "70% of Yamato's gold can be found within Imai".

That was how prosperous the town once was. Today, it is one of the last few traditional residential towns remaining in the country. (Yamato was the former name of Nara Prefecture)

Imai InlineImai-cho is a town that has retained the ambience of the Edo Period (1603-1868). With about 500 traditional buildings still intact in this 17.4 hectares town, it is the country's largest “Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings”. Amongst them, 9 properties have been designated as national important cultural properties, 3 are prefecture-designated cultural properties and 5 are city-designated cultural properties. What is special about this town is that residents are still living here, making it a living historical town.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then a video is definitely worth millions. To know what is waiting for you at Imai-cho, do take a look at this PR video.


History of Imai-cho 

Imai-cho was founded between 1532-1555 as a temple town revolving around Shonenji Temple. Having faced multiple attacks in the past, followers strengthened the town's defenses by building an encircling moat and defensive walls.

In 1568, Honganji (the largest school of Pure Land Buddhism under which Shonenji Temple belongs to) opposed against Oda Nobunaga, one of the strongest feudal lords in the late 16th century who eventually paved the way for the national unification of Japan. Imai-cho also rose to the call by fortifying itself but disarmed in 1575 upon the surrender of Honganji and intercession by Akechi Roof InlineMitsuhide, one of Nobunaga’s generals. The town was spared destruction and went on to flourish as a commercial area.

Imai-cho prospered till the extent that the above saying was coined. Evidence of its wealth can be seen by the fact that all houses had tiled roofs instead of wooden or straw, which were more common during that time.


Enjoy Imai-cho

Starting with the Imanishi Residence built in 1650, the streets of Imai-cho are lined with traditional houses that allow visitors to feel as if they have travelled back in time to the Edo Period. Used at times as a period drama filming location, there are public attractions such as town houses open for public viewing, museum, traditional crafts shops, a soy sauce factory, restaurants and sake brewery amongst the residential estates.

Do take a look at our detailed Imai-cho pamphlet and restaurant guide to facilitate & make your visit to Imai-cho more fruitful! 

  • Hanairaka, Imai-cho Information Center Hanairaka 3Hanairaka 2Hanairaka 1

 (Free admission, closed every Monday)

Built in 1903, this facility now houses extensive resources on the history of Imai-cho. With town diorama, miniature models, photo displays and touchable exhibits, one can learn more about this historic town before visiting it proper.

 

  •  Shonenji Temple Shonenji 2Shonenji 1

 (Closed for restoration. Will reopen in 2020)

Imai-cho began as a temple town centered around Shonenji Temple. The temple’s main hall is a national Important Cultural Property while its drum tower, reception area and living quarters are city-designated cultural properties.

 

  •  Former Kometani Residence Kometani 2Kometani

 (Free admission, closed every Monday)

Formerly a hardware store, this 18th century townhouse is considered unique among Imai-cho for its strong farmhouse architectural influence. Visitors may enter to view the internal structure which is characteristic of traditional Japanese houses.

 

  •  Imai Machiya CenterMachiya Machiya 2

 (Free admission, closed every Monday)

Originally left in a severe state of neglect, this townhouse was restored to its original appearance after inspection revealed its historic value. It is open to public, allowing visitors to view the interior of a traditional townhouse.

 

  • Kawai Residencekaiwai 2 Kw

In the beginning of the Edo Period, the family relocated their sake brewery “Jobonji-ya” to Imai-cho where it is still in business today. This was one of the first few houses in Imai-cho to have a second floor.

 

  • MurasakinagayaMurasakinagaya

 (Information desk is closed every Monday)

Located opposite Shonenji Temple, this townhouse has been converted into small shops. There is also an information desk as well as resting areas.


General Information

Name Imai-cho (今井町)
Type of attraction Living Historical Town
Free Wi-Fi Available (外部リンク)
Getting there From Kintetsu Yagi-nishiguchi Station (Central Exit):
  5 min walk
  From Kintetsu Yamato-Yagi Station:
  10 min walk 
  From JR Unebi Station:
  8 min walk

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橿原市八木町1-1-18

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