Old samurai house in the Miyazaki Shrine Forest (Photo: Alex Scalzitti)

The Miyazaki Shrine Forest - Part 4

Old Samurai Houses

Old samurai house in the Miyazaki Shrine Forest (Photo: Alex Scalzitti)
Alex Scalzitti   - 3 min read

Would you like to go back in time and see how samurais and their families used to live? If you visit the Miyazaki Shrine Forest, you will have this chance. Behind the Nature Museum and sometimes unnoticed by visitors, you will find old samurai houses. This area of the shrine forest is called “Minkaen”, the area of private houses.

These houses used to be located in remote areas of Miyazaki Prefecture. The houses were disassembled in those remote regions, their parts were brought and the houses were reassembled in this area of the Miyazaki Shrine Forest.

The houses were reassembled so that this area would look like a small village. The area is surrounded by cedars and you will find cherry trees around the houses.

The spring in Miyazaki is short compared to other prefectures of Japan. It becomes hot early in the spring and the Haru-Ichiban (first strong south winds) sometimes makes the cherry blossoms fall quite prematurely. What I have observed over the years is that the cherry blossoms of this area of the forest tend to fall later compared to blossoms of cherry trees found in other places. This is because the high cedars around are arranged so densely and they tend to weaken the strong winds, so that the cherry blossoms will last longer.

You will find gardens with beautiful flowers and plants around the houses. These gardens are kept by volunteers. They are very proud of their volunteer work and they love to talk about it. So, if you visit this area and see someone working at the gardens, do not hesitate: try to talk with them and ask them to show you around, even if you do not speak any Japanese.

This place is perfect to take a rest while visiting the Miyazaki Shrine Forest. Personally, I sometimes go to this place, sit on a bench and have a can of beer while watching the ancient view around.


  1. 民家園 (Minkaen) – the area of private houses
  2. 春一番 (Haru Ichiban) – the first strong winds from the south.


  1. From the Miyazaki Station: take the train bound for Sadowara, Nobeoka, Saeki or any other one going north on the Nippou Main Line and get off at the Miyazaki Jingu (Shrine) Station. It will take you about 5 minutes from the Miyazaki Station. From the exit of the Jingu Station, you can see a huge gateway across the road (Route 10). This gateway represents one of the pilgrimage entrances of the Miyazaki Shrine. Cross Route 10 and walk all the way to the shrine west entrance. Leaving the west entrance behind, walk about 100 meters and turn right. Walk around 50 meters and you will find the old samurai houses. It will take you around 15 minutes from the Miyazaki Jingu Station.
  2. From the Miyazaki Airport: it will take you about 30 minutes by taxi. Another option is to take the train at the Miyazaki Airport Station and get off at the Miyazaki Jingu Station. According to the train schedules, probably you will have to change trains at the Miyazaki Station.

Alex Scalzitti

Alex Scalzitti @alex.scalzitti

The first time I visited Japan was in 1994 and at that time I visited Tokyo area and Miyazaki. That was a terrific experience because I could see the difference between large and crowded Japanese cities and small ones. Miyazaki Prefecture has now a population of a little more than 1,120,000 inhab...