Monday, August 28th, 2023

Izushi clock tower: an ode to the power of coming second

Photograph of the Izushi clock tower, a wooden structure with sides curving to the crowned top and a white clock face showing 12:10

A small town in Hyogo, Izushi is home to the second oldest clock tower in Japan.

Note: SECOND oldest.

It was thought to be the oldest, until Sapporo noted theirs was completed a few weeks earlier. At which point, Izushi could have been relegated to the first of the losers" status so often reserved for second place.

Instead the town has made something of a name for itself on this quirk of history. 

There's a splattering of temples, some beautiful "traditional" streets and castle ruins to also draw the visitor in. Not that many from the tourist trail make it. With no railway station and an infrequent bus service, this is a place that demands a car. Which might explain why the number of foreigners I saw during my visit could be counted on one hand.

Photograph of the castle keep at Izushi
Fable has it the original castle was on top of the mountain. However, the master found it inaccessible in winter, so moved it down the hill to its current location.

One other thing worth mentioning. Izushi is also famous for its Soba noodles. Served on small plates and eaten with a sauce that's gradually intensified as you add more ingredients to it, it's something special.

If you happen to rent a car (or own one), Izushi is worth a visit. Not just for the town but also for the beautiful countryside.

My name is Ross Hori

I'm a freelance writer, designer and photographer. By day I create articles, features and reports. At night I take photos and write fiction. Find out more.