The Shinno Museum

Hello there everyone! This is Mary, back with another entry in my JOGE blog series. Joge is a small town in northern Hiroshima where the charm of traditional Japanese lifestyle, architecture, and hospitality abounds. It is my hope that by writing English content about Joge, many people will come to know and love this town like I do.

For this month’s blog post, I visited my friend Junko, who is a key player here in Joge. She owns the kimono rental shop “Joge style” in town and aside from being a professional vintage kimono purveyor is a skilled makeup artist, hairstylist, Japanese traditional craft maker, and more! Her family owns a small museum called the Shinno Museumthat displays her father-in-law’s collection of antiques.

As I’ve mentioned in blogs past, Joge was a tenryou territory, meaning it was under direct control of the Shogunate, the rulers of Japan. It was a financing and lending center, boasting 33 banks, and sending funds to the Tokugawa and Meiji regimes. (Learn more>>https://jogetenryo.com/en/#history

Joge’s wealth gave its citizens the ability to support the arts. Local barons would invest in the careers of promising young craftsmen by custom-ordering their work. The artisans-in-training enjoyed patronage and formation, while the barons gained social prestige and status. The Shinno Museum exhibits many of these one-of-a-kind pieces.

Here is a letter box or fubako owned by the first mayor of Joge, Hanjuro Okada. The gold lacquering is especially rare and ornate.

Also included in the collection are works of Wajima, Kakiemon, and Bizen lacquerware, as well as Satsuma porcelain from the Edo period.

Some of the most impressive items in the Shinno Museum are weapons and armor preserved from the final battles of the Edo period (mid-1800s). These battles were instrumental in the transition from the feudal Tokugawa Shogunate to the more modern Meiji government.

One of Junko’s ancestors, Shinzaemon Watanabe, was a chief retainer of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The Shogunate imported guns from abroad and Shinzaemon brought them to Hiroshima to fight against forces supporting the Meiji Restoration. Junko feels like it was destiny that she come across the guns brought to Hiroshima by her ancestor in the collection of her father-in-law.

One of the guns in the Museum is left out of glass casing for visitors to hold. It is quite heavy, weighing 3 kilograms. Junko told me that Japanese people during the Edo period were relatively small; it must have been a struggle to lift these weapons, each carefully handmade.

There is a lot more on display at the Shinno Museum, so I hope you’ll come see it for yourself! Until next time!

Shinno Museum
open / 9:00~17:00
Entrance fee/ Adults 300yen,free for high school students and under

By Mary Popeo

Mary Popeo has lived in Hiroshima Prefecture for four years, three of which she spent in Joge. She is passionate about sharing the magic of the Japanese countryside with people from around the world. Mary currently works at a peace education nonprofit in Hiroshima City, and collaborates with Fuchu City and the Joge Town to plan programs for inbound English-speaking tourists.













– Translation by Chizuko Inagaki –

2020.12.4 / Joge Guides