.is-hidden{ opacity: 1; }

A Place Where People and Culture Meet
The Former Ouchi Residence, Shiraki no Sato

Nestled in the valleys of Tachibana-machi, Yame City lies an old traditional Japanese house: “Shiraki no Sato, Kyu Ouchi-tei.” This is the same home where Chozo Ouchi was born, a politician who worked to foster friendly Sino-Japanese relations from the late 19th through the early 20th centuries. The Former Ouchi Residence Preservation Society, led by locals, saved the house from going to ruins, restoring it to its current appearance. Now designated a cultural asset by Yame City, the space serves as a community center and hub for local culture.

大内 暢三

Chozo Ouchi

A Lifetime Dedicated to Cultural Exchange

The Ouchi family is said to have descended from Yoshitaka Ouchi’s brother, Yoshinobu, who held power in 15th and 16th-century Suo Province (present-day Yamaguchi Prefecture). In 1889, Chozo Ouchi's father Seiichiro Ouchi became the first mayor of Shiraki Village, located in what was then Yame County, Fukuoka Prefecture.

Chozo Ouchi, part of the 11th generation of the family, was born in 1874 in Shiraki Village. He studied in Yanagawa and Kumamoto during his childhood, and after graduating from Tokyo Senmon Gakko (now Waseda University), he studied abroad at Columbia University in New York City. After returning to Japan, he worked as a close associate of Atsumaro Konoe, the chairman of the House of Peers, the Upper House of the Japanese Imperial Diet.

In 1908, at the age of 35, Ouchi became a member of the Lower House. As a member of the Diet until 1930, he devoted himself to forging friendly relations between Japan, China, and Korea to help foster prosperity throughout East Asia. He also helped Tsuyoshi Inukai to enact the universal suffrage law.

In 1931, Ouchi became president of Tung Wen College in Shanghai, China. The institute was established with the aim of cultivating talent in Asia and China. During the upheavals of the First and Second Shanghai Incidents, Ouchi consistently maintained a policy against the expansion of war and preached friendship between Japan and China. In particular, he emphasized cultural exchange between the two countries.

After resigning from his post in 1941 due to illness, Ouchi passed away on December 31, 1944, at the age of 71.

Architecture and History

Rare in the mountain villages of Tachibana-machi Shiraki, the former Ouchi Residence retains machiya townhouse architectural characteristics, while its stout framework and large beams give the structure a rich farmhouse air.

The main structure was built around 1884 in the Meiji Era, and extensions were added in the early Taisho and Showa eras (early 20th century). Due to this style of construction, visitors can see the architectural styles of the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras all blended together at the former Ouchi Residence. Among the highlights are delicately crafted ranma (Japanese transom panels), long, seamless wood hallways, intricately constructed thick pine beams, and bamboo that covers the second-story ceilings. The second floor study room is surrounded by glass on three sides, creating a comfortable space that lets in plenty of natural light and breeze.

However, the former Ouchi Residence has not always been preserved in its current state. About 30 years ago, when the house was on the verge of going to ruins, Ms. Maki Tanaka and other local residents formed the Former Ouchi Residence Preservation Society and restored it to its current state through signature drives, the “One Roof Tile Campaign” fundraising effort, and petitions to the town leadership. Thanks to their efforts, the former Ouchi Residence was donated to the town and designated as a Tangible Cultural Property in 2000.


The Circulation of Food and Culture

At the Former Ouchi Residence, local women are known for serving a dish called the “mother’s meal.”

The menu, rich in originality and ingenuity, is filled with vegetables and mountain plants harvested in the area to make the most of local flavors. Dishes include handmade tofu and konnyaku potato jelly, traditional nukazuke pickles, Japanese-style nimono vegetables, shiraae tofu salad, and camellia sushi with its impressive red petals.

The dishes are an interpretation of seasonal ingredients through “beginning, bloom, and end,” tenderly incorporating the changing of seasons into food while bringing out the full flavors of local ingredients. A small cycle is created when those who receive gifts of vegetables harvested in the community then cook and share the food with the gift-givers. These traditions are packed with the wisdom of life in the satoyama, something we should learn now more than ever.

3 Programs
Connecting Cultures

Chozo Ouchi had a wish for cultural exchange across regions, and for the wisdom of food and lifestyles to be passed down by local people. We would like to pass these traditions on to future generations by working together with visitors through residence programs and sharing meals.

Program 01

Satoyama Living:
Everyday Lessons/Seasonal Lessons

Tachiban-machi, Yame City, where the Former Ouchi Residence is located, is a region blessed with seasonal harvests: bamboo shoots in spring, tomatoes and bitter gourds in summer, and taro, mikan oranges, kiwi fruit, and strawberries in fall and winter. These lands are also dotted with blacksmiths and bamboo craft workshops. Here, craftsmanship is an integral part of daily life.
This program was created to help preserve local culture, traditions that are in danger of slipping away into history. Stay in the satoyama (mountain foothills) of Tachibana-machi, Yame City, and learn from local aunties, farmers, and craftspeople who know these lands best.

Everyday Hands-on Learning( plans offered throughout the year)

Spend a day or two in Tachibana-machi, Yame City, learning from local aunties how to make konnyaku jelly using wood ash, harvesting vegetables to make nukazuke pickles, all while thinking about the circulation of food in the satoyama mountainside village.

Click here for details(COMING SOON)

Seasonal Hands-on Learning (plans that change according to the seasons)

In spring, dig bamboo shoots and visit a bamboo craft workshop; in early summer, make ume (plum) wine and pickled plums using sake from a local brewery; in autumn, make sweet potato buns and visit a blacksmith; and in winter, make takana (pickled mustard veggies) and visit a wooden bucket workshop.

Click here for details(COMING SOON)

Program 02

Lunch by The Kitchen of Shiraki no Sato

The "mother's meal" prepared by local women is being passed on in a new form by the younger generation. Enjoy a vegetable-centered lunch plate using seasonal ingredients from Tachibana.

※Lunch will be provided by The Kitchen of Shiraki no Sato ーYORA CONNNEー.
※By reservation only. Reservations can be made beginning Spring 2023.

Program 03

Chef in Residence 2022

As part of the Japan Tourism Agency's "Model Project for Enhancing Sustainable Tourism Content," the Chef in Residence program was developed with the hope of passing on and developing the food culture of Tachibana-machi, Yame City. The project centers the former Ouichi Residence while inviting food experts from outside the community. Chef Aoyagi Yoko and élab founder Ohyama Takako stayed in Tachibana twice, in August and September 2022. élab is an organization that thinks about circularity, using daily life in Torigoe, Taito District, Tokyo as its canvas.

How did Aoyagi and Ohyama interpret the circularity of food in Tachibana? What kinds of connections were built between the two of them and the people of Tachibana? For more, please read the report on their stay in Tachibana, which is full of various insights.

Chef in Residence Details

Nearby Sights

Tachibana-machi, Yame City is a beautiful mountain village with citrus and kiwi trees lining its gently sloping hills. In addition to the former Ouchi Residence, other sights include the Tanigawa Plum Grove, the Onoko Great Buddha, the Kosuke Tasaki Museum of Art, and the Tachibana Roadside Station.

The Former Ouchi Residence


3245 Shiroki, Tachibana-cho, Yame, Fukuoka 834-0084 Japan Google Maps


Hours: 9:00-17:00
Closed: Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday), Year-end and New Year holidays


By Car

About 15km from Yame IC, off of Kyushu Expressway

By Train

About 20km by taxi from JR Hainuzuka Station

By Bus

About 10km by taxi from the Yame-Fukushima bus stop