Tomonoura’s local specialty is, without a doubt, Houmei-shu, a Japanese herbal liquor, made with grass seeds, using a process which began back in the Edo Period.
The “Ōta Residence” was designated as Japan’s important cultural property in 1991 and is regarded as the birthplace of Houmei-shu, where visitors can observe the well-preserved buildings and warehouses lined up around the main house.
These properties, built by the Nakamura merchant family, flourished as the only Houmei-shu producers from the middle until the end of the Edo Period. The residence was later sold to a shipping agent and the Ōta family took it over. The current “Ōta Residence” is now a symbol of Tomonoura’s historical townscape.
The “Chosotei” machiya residence just across the street of the main residence was used as a sea-side accommodation facility for the local lord. This majestic building on the stone walls by the sea represents how prosperous the Ōta family was. This site was designated as a “Tomo shichikyo ruin” of Hiroshima Prefecture in 1940.
Some members of the Ōta family still run a “Houmei-shu shop” where visitors can enjoy picking up souvenirs at the real birthplace of Houmei-shu. Admire this traditional entrance where Sugitama (a large ornamental ball made with cedar leaves) is hung in the space under the eaves and enjoy some local liquor among the deep history.
Ōta Residence / Tomo shichikyo ruins
Address/ 842 Tomo, Tomo-cho, Fukuyama-shi, Hiroshima
Open/ Sat. Sun. Public holidays 10:00 -17:00（final admission by 16:30.）
Fees/ Junior high school students and above: 400yen / Elementary school students 200yen