26 July, 2017

Curious cabins

There is a curious story behind the place where we stayed for the last ten nights of our holidays. It it located about 300km north of Tokyo on the coast, near the city of Sendai. According to the Brief Historical Sketch you'll see in the photo below, the area was "discovered" by a missionary on a hunting trip in 1889. At that time Japan had only been open to foreigners for a few decades. I don't know a lot about missions in Japan in the 1800s, but my understanding is that the first Protestant missionaries arrived somewhere around 1859.

In any case, what we have today stems back to 1889. Three knobs of land poke up above sandy beaches and two were leased by a collective group of missionaries in the 1890s. On these knobs cabins have been built. Though really many of them are more substantial than a mere cabin. Most of these cabins/houses are holiday houses, just a handful are used all the year round as residences. I don't think I'd heard of the concept of leasing land that you can build on before I came to Japan, but it seems to be not uncommon here.

In any case, the cabin we stayed in has been around for a long time. OMF has owned it since some time in the '60s, but there is evidence that it existed in the 1920s. On the pole below people (mostly kids I suspect) have written their heights and the year. One is 1925 and another says 1933, we think.

Thankfully OMF has renovated the two cabins it owns in the last couple of years because when we stayed in it four years ago it did look as though they were rather old. Now the cabin is beautiful, but if you look closely you can see other evidence of its age. Can you see how much the wall is leaning in this photo (the door and its frame are new and presumably square)?

It's not only been beautifully renovated, but there has been a thoughtful person, with a budget, who's decorated it too. Blue and white predominate, with touches of red. The three bedrooms with single beds have pink, blue, and green touches.

Most of the 50 or so cabins are owned by families who usually vacation there each year. David and I look at the amount of upkeep required and don't feel tempted at all to do that. Just keeping the "jungle" at bay is hard work in itself. Though owning one of these cabins is very suitable for those who find working with their hands on fix-it-up projects relaxing.

The community that gathers here for only a few weeks a year (mostly the last week of July for four weeks) must been very thankful for the foresight of that missionary long ago and all who've worked hard to keep this a beautiful place to holiday.
This is part of the base of the Takayama "nob".
The Toyama "nob", our cabin is hidden by trees a little to the right of centre. 
Another portion of the base of Takayama. The guys have fun climbing on the
sandstone here.

1 comment:

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Interesting to read the history of Takayama. Love the blue and white decorating. And the handwritten markers--that's real history!!!