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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With the current global warming , using natural energy like watermill is currently under consideration.
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.
The big wooden board that greeted us before going in. The place is free by the way, no need to pay anything.
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.
The miniature one.
Inside 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.