Old Shizutani School

Old Shizutani School, Bizen: Hours, Address, Old Shizutani School Reviews: 4.5/5

Old Shizutani School
4.5
Historic Sites • Points of Interest & Landmarks
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM
What people are saying
tomizuta1953
By tomizuta1953
It was a much more impressive ninety minutes’ visit than we had expected.
May 2019
The school is located in Bizen City which is in the eastern part of Okayama Prefecture. During the Edo era the Ikeda Family was the feudal lord of Bizen. Shizutani Gakkou was established in 1670 in the quiet valley of Shizutani by order of the feudal lord Mitsumasa Ikeda. who strongly believed that education was the foundation of a strong feudal domain. For the samurais he had established a feudal domain school (hankou) in the castle town of Okayama. He had also started 123 smaller schools in Bizen, which were integrated and concentrated into Shizutani Gakkou. The school was open not only to the samurai class but also to commoners, which was very unique at the times. Students would board and learn to read and write upon which they would leave. Higher education was provided by prominent scholars for those that remained . We paid the admission fee of 400 yen (200 yen for those over 65) and entered the school. At a glance we noticed how large the school grounds were with many scattered buildings. The first that caught our eyes was Shizutani-jinja Shinto shrine.This is a shrine dedicated to Mitsumasa Ikeda who initiated the opening of the school. Unfortunately, the shrine was undergoing some major refurbishing. The next that caught our attention was the grand school gate. This gate built in 1684 was called Kakumei-mon, or “crane crying gate”. The roof tiles are of Bizen pottery and has two shachi (mythical creature with a head of a lion and body of a fish) statues atop. From there we went to visit the museum in the back to gain some knowledge before visiting the main buildings. The building was constructed in 1905 as the main building of Shizutani Chuugaku (equivalent of a high school) and used as a school building until 1964. The museum houses an extensive display of Shizutani School, education during the feudal era and the people that contributed to the school. We went back to view the main buildings. The main feature is the grand hall in the koudou building built in 1701. This is where students sat on the floor and read Confucius' Analects (Rongo). You are not allowed to enter the hall, but you can take a peek from the four sides. Also worth noting is the Koumon gate built in 1701 for VIPs to enter and the Seibyou, a mausoleum dedicated to Confucius standing on the most prestigious site on a hill in the center back of the school grounds built in 1684. All the buildings on the site from the Edo era have been designated as National Treasures. It was a much more impressive ninety minutes’ visit than we had expected.

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4.5
104 reviews
Excellent
55
Very good
40
Average
8
Poor
1
Terrible
0

tomizuta1953
Funabashi, Japan1,131 contributions
May 2019 • Couples
The school is located in Bizen City which is in the eastern part of Okayama Prefecture. During the Edo era the Ikeda Family was the feudal lord of Bizen. Shizutani Gakkou was established in 1670 in the quiet valley of Shizutani by order of the feudal lord Mitsumasa Ikeda. who strongly believed that education was the foundation of a strong feudal domain. For the samurais he had established a feudal domain school (hankou) in the castle town of Okayama. He had also started 123 smaller schools in Bizen, which were integrated and concentrated into Shizutani Gakkou. The school was open not only to the samurai class but also to commoners, which was very unique at the times. Students would board and learn to read and write upon which they would leave. Higher education was provided by prominent scholars for those that remained . We paid the admission fee of 400 yen (200 yen for those over 65) and entered the school. At a glance we noticed how large the school grounds were with many scattered buildings. The first that caught our eyes was Shizutani-jinja Shinto shrine.This is a shrine dedicated to Mitsumasa Ikeda who initiated the opening of the school. Unfortunately, the shrine was undergoing some major refurbishing. The next that caught our attention was the grand school gate. This gate built in 1684 was called Kakumei-mon, or “crane crying gate”. The roof tiles are of Bizen pottery and has two shachi (mythical creature with a head of a lion and body of a fish) statues atop. From there we went to visit the museum in the back to gain some knowledge before visiting the main buildings. The building was constructed in 1905 as the main building of Shizutani Chuugaku (equivalent of a high school) and used as a school building until 1964. The museum houses an extensive display of Shizutani School, education during the feudal era and the people that contributed to the school. We went back to view the main buildings. The main feature is the grand hall in the koudou building built in 1701. This is where students sat on the floor and read Confucius' Analects (Rongo). You are not allowed to enter the hall, but you can take a peek from the four sides. Also worth noting is the Koumon gate built in 1701 for VIPs to enter and the Seibyou, a mausoleum dedicated to Confucius standing on the most prestigious site on a hill in the center back of the school grounds built in 1684. All the buildings on the site from the Edo era have been designated as National Treasures. It was a much more impressive ninety minutes’ visit than we had expected.
Written June 14, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

mandyosh
Terrigal, Australia77 contributions
Apr 2018
After the April crowds in Kyoto, it was a breath of fresh air to visit beautifully maintained Shizutani school with few other visitors. The gate keeper was friendly and provided an English pamphlet with detailed information. The Bizen pottery roof tiles, curved stone wall and stunning zelkova joinery suit the site perfectly and it's a delight to tread softly around the old Confucian classrooms and imagine lessons in 1670- "the oldest existing public school in the world".
Written April 18, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

RubyII2015
15 contributions
May 2017 • Couples
On our way from Hattoji international villa to Okayama, we stopped here. Very interesting and quiet spot - would be lovely to take a picnic and on a sunny day.
Written May 5, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Lara N
Takamatsu, Japan147 contributions
Apr 2017
I was expecting a short visit to see a curiosity, but instead got drawn into the past at Shizutani School. The volunteer guide was not only knowledgeable, but also amusing, sharing stories and explaining things so that it was easy to imagine life hundreds of years ago. The magnificent old buildings are beautifully maintained and the grounds were full of beautiful flowering trees, as it was spring. There is a petition to apply for UNESCO World Heritage Status at this site, and I think it is well deserved. I'm not sure about English-speaking guides, and am afraid that the experience might be less interesting without the explanations, though there are English handouts for all of the brochures.
Written April 16, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Frequently Asked Questions about Old Shizutani School

Old Shizutani School is open:
  • Sun - Sat 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


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