For a nostalgic trip filled with delightful pieces of Japanese custom and tradition, be sure to visit these red brick buildings just a 15-minute walk from Kumatori Station on the JR Hanwa Line. Architecture aficionados are sure to appreciate both the striking exteriors and the fascinating exhibits within.
Rengakan was originally built as a cotton factory around 1928. Although its role as a factory ended in 1992, part of it was subsequently designated as a Cultural Property by the town of Kumatori, and part was recognized as a Heritage of Industrial Modernization by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Its original red brick appearance preserved, it was reopened and reborn as the Kumatori Community Center Rengakan in 2005, becoming a new symbol of the region. Since then, various historical, artistic and cultural activities and events promoting lifelong learning have been held on the premises.
While enjoying the modern industrial interior, be sure to check the gallery section to learn about the rich history and cultural heritage of this region. Then move on to the traditional workshop area, where you can also experience “Ai-zome”, a traditional Japanese dyeing method using the deeply beautiful blue dye produced from the Japanese indigo plant. Pick your favorite style and pattern and make a handkerchief to bring home as a singularly unique souvenir all your own.
Before you leave, there’s one more unique exhibit you won’t want to miss. The region is known for its harvest festivals, highlighted by ornate portable wooden floats called “danjiri”, and the town’s oldest such object—also said to be a shrine that houses gods and spirits—is on display here. Look upon it, and your mind is sure to envision revelers vigorously moving their hands and bodies to the rhythm of traditional music played on drums and flutes.
The town of Kumatori is a delightful destination full of local charm, and certainly worth the short trip for any visitor looking to step off the beaten path.
Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. (9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays)
Address: 1-10-1 Gomon-nishi, Kumatori Town, Sennan-gun, Osaka Prefecture
Airport: Kansai International Airport
Closed on the fourth Wednesday of every month (Thursday if Wednesday is a national holiday) and during the year-end and New Year holidays (December 29 to January 3).