Zushi Valley Watermill


Before reaching Ikoma Theme Park, we passed by several interesting places on the way, one of which is a watermill. I search for an English description but unfortunately I could only find a Japanese one.

I am not a professional translator and my Kanji skill is still far from perfect, so I still need to use a translator every now and then but here is my rough translation of the page.

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生駒山の西側山腹の興法寺を経て、宝山寺に通じる辻子谷(ずしたに)越えの山道は、江戸時代以降、信仰の道として大いに利用された。

During the Edo Era, religious people have been using Zushi Valley pass located at the west side of Mt. Ikoma as the passageway going to Kouhouji and Houzanji.

この辻子谷を始め、生駒山麓の各谷では、当然のことながら谷川の水を利用して水車が設けられ、自家用として利用されていたが、江戸時代には大坂の商業発展とともに、水車を工業用として利用するようになり、昭和18年頃には生駒西麓一体では117輌の水車があったといわれる。

In the beginning , residents around the valley used watermill to used the mountain stream for daily used but starting Edo Era, local business around Osaka also started using the watermill for business purposes. Around the 1940’s , it was said that there were about 117 watermill around the area.

特に、ここ辻子谷では谷の奥深くまで水車小屋が並び、寛永年間(1624~44年)には胡粉製造が始まり、元禄年間(1688~1704年)以降は和漢薬種の細末加工が増え、明治から大正にかけての最盛期には最大44輌の水車が稼動していたという。
これらの水車は1914年(大正3年)大軌電車(現近鉄奈良線)が開通した後の電力普及とともに減少の憂き目にあったが、辻子谷では芳香成分を含む薬種加工が主であったため、他の谷より永く水車が残され1975年(昭和50年)頃まで細々と使われていた。

Even deep within the valley watermill were also constructed, in fact around 1624 to 1644 (Kan’ei era) they started the production of powdered calcium and in 1688-1704 (Genkoku Era) different varieties of Chinese Herb and Medicine were also manufactured. From Meiji to Taisho Era, around 44 watermill where said to be in operation and was considered the golden era of the time. In 1914, train was constructed around the area ( the current Kintentsu Nara Line), even though production slowly decreased and the hardship started, production of Chinese Herbs and other medicine were concentrated around Zushi Valley still continued until around 1975.

現在では、各種機械製粉機の発達にともない伝統産業として、香辛料や生薬の粉砕行が続いており、この地区を通り抜けるときは、漢方薬独特の匂いが漂っている。

Even the with development of mechanical mills, the traditional ways are still followed and the the smell of herbs and medicine is still evident around this area.

辻子谷の往時のよき時代を語り継ぐため、地元の有志が中心となり、2004年(平成16年)11月に実物大の直径6mの水車を復元完成させ、2007年(平成19年)秋に完成した1/4のミニチュアの水車小屋とともに、辻子谷で活躍していた当時の様子が感じることが出来る。

To preserve the local history, volunteers restored one of the watermill in November 2004 and was finished by autunm of 2007 including a minitaure version for the kids.

地球温暖化問題防止が叫ばれる現在、自然のエネルギーを利用した水車の復活も大いに検討すべきテーマだと考える。

With the current global warming , using natural energy like watermill is currently under consideration.

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Again, I am not a professional translator or have done any translation work before so if any body out there have some correction , please don’t hesitate to inform me.

It definitely a nice surprise to discover that the place we were currently hiking/walking holds a great history that not many people know about.

20131022-092612.jpgThe big wooden board that greeted us before going in. The place is free by the way, no need to pay anything.

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What a sight. It was beautiful and the water was really cold and refreshing too and no I did not drink it although I was really tempted too. There was nobody there to ask if the water was safe to drink or not.

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The miniature one.

20131022-092715.jpgInside the miniature mill.

We spent a good 20 minutes or so just exploring the around the mill. I love the sound of it too .

If you want to check this place out, the nearest station would Ishikiri Station. It’s about 15 minutes walk uphill on the Zushidani Hiking Course.

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Categories: Life In Japan, Structures | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Zushi Valley Watermill

  1. Very interesting! Thanks for taking the time to translate. 🙂

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