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.
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|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|