I happened to find a closed elementary school only one block off the main site of ‘Tsumago-juku’. I felt as if I have been taken back to old times of Japan again.
According to the monument in front of the school, it marked 100th anniversary in 1972. So it means this school was established in 1872! Wow! But finally the school is said to have been closed about 10 years ago because of depopulation of children here. It has a swimming pool, gymnasium, training ground and a Shinto shrine on the compound.
The gymnasium also looks very old but seems to be still used as the hall of practicing Kendo (Japanese fencing).
I was amazed to see this statue. It is the statue of Ninomiya Kinjiro. Although they say that this statue used to be seen on the grounds of old schools in Japan, I have never seen one. He was born in a very poor family, but studied very hard to make a big success in the farming business. So his statue was often built as a role model for Japanese students in the past.
Although this school has been abolished, I could imagine the good old days of this school colorfully. I hope that it won’t be torn down but be kept as a good memory.
Besides, this reminded me of Japan’s temporary problems: the lack of children and depopulation in the countryside.