Oki Kyodokan

Oki Kyodokan, Tsubame no Minka, Goka Soseikan & Mizuwakasu Shrine

Jake Davies

In the Goka area of northern Dogo Island, in the Oki Islands in Shimane Prefecture, there are a group of traditional buildings just a stone’s throw away from each other. In the middle of the group is the Oki Kyodokan (隠岐郷土館), the Museum of Archaeology & Folklore. It is housed in a rather nice "colonial" style building, obviously Western but with some Japanese features, ie the roof is traditional kawara roof tiles.

The Oki Kyodokan, local history museum in the former Town Hall built in the Meiji Period.
The Oki Kyodokan, local history museum in the former Town Hall built in the Meiji Period
Traditional clothing and spinning and weaving equipment at the Oki Local History Museum.
Traditional clothing and spinning and weaving equipment at the Oki Local History Museum

Built in the Meiji Period, the Oki Kyodokan was originally the town hall and was dismantled and re-erected here. The two floors of the museum are packed with exhibits that are fairly typical for a local history museum - lots of tools and agricultural implements, a big collection of traditional rain gear made from rice straw, clothing and the equipment used to make them.

I particularly enjoyed the collection of masks. Outside the main building is an outbuilding filled with larger farm implements, but the real surprise is found behind the main building on a slight rise - a big, thatched farmhouse.

Traditional farm equipment on display at the Oki Kyodokan.
Traditional farm equipment on display at the Oki Kyodokan
Tsubame no Minka a 150 year old traditional farmhouse behind the Oki Kyodokan.
Tsubame no Minka, a 150 year old traditional farmhouse behind the Oki Kyodokan

Tsubame no Minka つばめのみんか

Tsubame no Minka, (Swallow Farmhouse), was built about 150 years ago and belonged to a relatively wealthy farming family. From the earthen-floored entrance and kitchen area into the spacious tatami rooms, the whole house, with many household objects in situ, can be explored. An unexpected delight.

Oki Kyodokan
755 Kori, Okinoshima-cho, Oki-gun, Shimane 685-0311
Tel: 0851 25 2151
Open 9am to 5pm. Closed weekends and holidays from December to March.

Entry 300 yen for adults.

View of the interior from the kitchen of Tsubame no Minka traditional thatched farmhouse.
View of the interior from the kitchen of Tsubame no Minka traditional thatched farmhouse

Goka Soseikan 五箇創生館

Right next to the Kyodokan is the Goka Soseikan, a modern building offering displays on many of Oki's traditional festivals and activities like Bull Sumo and also information on the natural world of Dogo.

There are numerous videos that can be viewed, and as many of the islands unique festivals occur infrequently, it is a good chance to see them. There is also a cafe restaurant attached to the museum, a good opportunity to eat as restaurants are not widespread away from the main port town of Saigo.

Goka Soseikan
615-1 Kori Okinoshima-cho, Oki-gun Shimane 685-0311
Tel: 0851 25 2845
Open 9am to 5pm. Closed weekends and holidays from December to March.

Entry 500 yen for adults. There is a combination ticket for 650 yen for entry to both the Kyodokan and Soseikan.

Entrance foyer of the Goka Soseikan Museum of Traditional Culture.
Entrance foyer of the Goka Soseikan Museum of Traditional Culture, Dogo, Oki Islands

Mizuwakasu Shrine 水若酢神社

Right next door to the museums is Mizuwakasu Shrine, historically one of the most important shrines in the Oki Islands. The kami enshrined here is Mizuwakasu no mikoto, a guardian of the islands and the seas around them.

According to legend the shrine was founded in the 4th century, though the first written record of it is in the 9th century. Behind the shrine is a 6th century mounded tomb. The current building was built in 1795, and is in Oki-zukuri, Oki style, which combines features of Izumo-zukuri, Kasuga-zukuri, and Ise-zukuri.

At the end of the Edo Period the shrine seems to have been the base of anti-government activity as they established the Yochokan, a school teaching the philosophy of sonno joi ("Revere the Emperor;expel the barbarian") which led to a short-lived rebellion by the islands against the Matsue Domain.

The shrine's main festival occurs on May 3rd in even-numbered years. The Reitaisai Festival features a float pushed by young boys in happi coats, kagura dancing, a Lion Dance (shishimai) and horseback archery (yabusame). At other times during the year Oki-style sumo takes place at the shrine.

Mizuwakasu Shrine
723 Kori, Okinoshima-cho, Oki-gun, Shimane 685-0311
Tel: 0851 25 2123

Mizuwakasu Shrine, Dogo, Oki Islands.
Mizuwakasu Shrine, Dogo, Oki Islands

The Goka area is about 13 kilometers from Saigo Port and is served by several local bus lines from there.

The Honden at Mizuwakasu Shrine showing the chigi (cross piece) and katsuogi (horizontal piece), Dogo, Oki Islands.
The Honden at Mizuwakasu Shrine showing the chigi (cross piece) and katsuogi (horizontal piece), Dogo, Oki Islands

Getting Between the Oki Islands

A fairly frequent and fast ferry service connects the three islands of Dozen, but between Dozen and Dogo you need to use the car ferry or jet foil.

Read more about access to the Oki Islands and getting around the islands.

Useful Oki Island Resources

Map of the Oki Islands


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