Saidaiji's cultural center

Saidaiji Lucky Street

visit west japan, visitwestjapan, okayama prefecture
Photographer | Takuma Kimura

 

Adjacent to the well-known Saidaiji Kannon-in Temple is the beautifully preserved Gofuku-dori (Five Fortunes Street). This street is at the cultural center of Saidaiji and is a lasting reminder of the charm of the Showa era of Japan. The nostalgia for this period, which ran from 1926 to 1989, continues to be strong, with the 1960s and 70s inspiring a particularly great deal of fondness.

The street curves ever so slightly in a way that few modern streets do, giving that extra bit of appeal to the storefronts that define character. Gofuku-dori was used as the backdrop for Japanese movies and TV productions set in the Showa period. Although the setting is impressively authentic, the knowledge and understanding of the local residents of the history and culture of the street contributes greatly to not only its preservation but also its revival.

Showa era nostalgia is defined by the emotions that are inspired by traditional Japanese architecture, marked by wooden buildings with hand painted signs that do not detract from their simple elegance. It was a time when people were beginning to prosper and could enjoy a trip to the shops to purchase both the necessities and also a few luxuries.

Gofuku-dori, like many shopping streets in Okayama, has been affected by the change in shopping and daily living habits that has seen many Japanese people look to larger stores and away from the culture of the shopping street. To counter this trend, the local shopkeepers and residents have persevered by creating new ways to attract visitors. They have come up with ideas which reflect current trends and new innovations in cultural revival from a grassroots approach.  Just as it was in the heyday of the shopping streets, a strong base of social interaction is important, and the local residents go out of their way to make visitors feel welcome.

Gofuku-dori is a visual treat that perfectly captures Showa era charm.

Access: (Train) From JR Okayama Station, take the JR Ako Line to JR Saidaiji Station (about 18 minutes).

(Bus) Take the Ryobi bus from Okayama Station Bus Terminal to Saidaiji Bus Center (about 30 minutes). It is about a 10 minute walk from the bus center.

 

About the Area

Okayama City is best known for its black ‘crow castle’ and adjacent Kourakuen Garden, but this city is undergoing rapid change and growth which has created new attractions for visitors. Momotaro Odori is the central boulevard that runs from the east side of Okayama Station toward the museum-rich Cultural Zone. The Prefectural Museum of Art, located a few blocks off the end of Momotaro Odori, showcases Japanese artists and regularly exhibits works on consignment from international museums and private collections. At the heart of the city, Okayama Station is a transportation hub and a nexus for shopping and dining.

Cancellation Policy

1) Detailed tour information & conditions will be given after application is made; please read and confirm the final itinerary before the departure date.
2) Reservations: Fill out the application contact form; application is complete upon payment. Reservations accepted by phone, mail, fax, online, or other communicative methods. The contract is not valid at time of reservation; the customer will be asked to submit an application form and payment within 3 days from time of reservation. If application form and payment are not submitted within the term, the reservation shall be considered void.
3) Items not included in tour price: Transportation costs not included in itinerary, optional tour fees, excess baggage fees, any fees of a personal nature (phone bills, meal costs, etc.) Items excluded from the tour will be stated in the tour information.
4) Cancellation fees: When the application is cancelled by the customer or when payment has not been made by the specified date, Ryobi Tours shall receive a percentage of the per person tour fee as a cancellation fee, or a penalty fee. Differences in room charges that result from one person in a group cancelling shall be charged to the participating person(s).

Cancellation Date Up to 21 days prior 20-8 days prior 7-2 days prior Day prior to start of tour Day of tour After start of tour/non-participation with no contact
Cancellation Fee No charge 20% of tour fee 30% of tour fee 40% of tour fee 50% of tour fee 100% of tour fee