Bizen City, Okayama

Located on the farthest reaches of the Seto Inland Sea, Katakami has been a major port since ancient times and is even recorded in the Engishiki, a tenthcentury book of ancient law. In the Edo period, it was designated as a post town on the Saigoku Highway, and as the home to the Honjin (the most prestigious inn for feudal lords) and Waki-honjin (a secondary inn for feudal lords). It was also a shipping port for Bizen ware, a type of traditional Japanese pottery made in Inbe, which was exported across the world.
In addition, Bizen boasts the natural port of Otabu, located off the coast of the Hinase Islands. The port was opened by Okayama’s Ikeda clan in the eleventh year of the Genroku period (1698), and has served many purposes including as a zai-bansho (guardhouse), Goyo-ka (residence for governmental officials), and kako-bansho (sailors’ guardhouse). Goza-bune (the Daimyo’s pleasure boat) and large cargo ships often called at the port to wait for favorable wind and tide.

  • ports of call

  • The Genroku Breakwater, Otabu Fishing Port

    The breakwater of Otabu Port, is the official port of the Okayama clan, where Goza-bune for Sankinkotai, and large cargo ships are anchored. It is one of the few existing port facilities from the Edo period.

  • The stone mound of the lantern hall

    The stone mound of the lantern hall was used as a signpost to Otabu Port until around the beginning of the Meiji Period. The current lantern hall was rebuilt in 1986.

  • Oido

    An artesian well of Otabu Port.
    It supplied drinking water to cargo vessels and charter vessels from various countries.

  • Jinkuro Monument

    A monument of Tabuchiya, Jinkuro Suetomo, a ship trader in Hinase who made a fortune as a ship owner of Sengoku-bune (large junk).

  • A model of Kitamae-bune (Kakonoura Museum of History and Culture, Bizen City)

    Various models, including Sengoku-bune and a barge.

  • Katakami Hakkei (Ebisuya Araki Ryokan Inn)

    A drawing of the area around Katakami Port, ca. 1792. It shows that many ships are calling at the port.