The other day I went to Sasayama for the first time in a long while. I got to look around, giving me the chance to really feel the town’s atmosphere. Sasayama’s about the chillist town I’ve been to in awhile –far different from the busy cityscapes of Tokyo, Osaka, Kobe, and even Himeji. For one thing, Sasayama’s a “city” (at least by Japanese local governmental administrative guidelines) with only about 42,000 people. Furthermore, the central town area accessible from the JR Sasayama-guchi Station is, well, super laid-back. Looking around mid-day, shop-owners would leave their storefronts open with no fear of theft and would be lurking somewhere in the back (asleep?).
Furthermore, I noticed that Sasayama’s classy, not modern or futuristic, but old-fashioned and promoting a kind of prestige. For example, buildings of elegant wooden construction dot the city, some of which are originally samurai households that have been carefully and tastefully maintained. One person’s house had an old-fashioned gas-stand, a Shell gas container that might be a decorative prop or just a very efficiently used piece of equipment.
The town is friendly, with free “take-a-fan, leave-a-fan” displays all over the place, as if to say: summers hot, but we’ve got you covered. The biggest sign of life I spotted in the town was this large dog sleeping next to its high-end doggy estate. Temples like Seiganji and the town castle are recommended spots around town.