Yamato-Koriyama and it’s old goldfish pastime
In the southwestern area of Nara, quite a way from Nara Park and the town’s most visited attractions, lies the neighbourhood of Yamato-Koriyama. During the Edo Period, this area was a popular spot with samurai who have left their mark in the way of traditions and pastimes. One such pastime is goldfish cultivation; an activity still cherished to this day by the locals.
These little fish are loved by the locals, and are also a big reason for visitors to make a trip to this area. Wander along the old Yanagimachi Shotengai, where you will stumble upon curious points of interest and decorative details related to the fish; street signs, rustic aquariums, a goldfish cultivation centre, and the area’s main draw, the goldfish phone booth.
A short walk from the train station you will run into Konyakawa River. This little canal might not look like much but if you peek closer at the edges, you’ll notice goldfish-painted tiles every few meters. On its own, the canal is not reason enough to make it to this part of town, yet the walk is quaint and leads on to other goldfish-related sites.
Next to the Konyakawa canal is Kochikuya, a shop specializing in goldfish. The shop owner is an expert in all matters pertaining to the orange cuties and can guide you in getting the right fish to take home as omiyage. What makes the shopping experience extra fun is that you’ll get to do the fishing yourself from the various artificial ponds on the side patio of the shop. Even if you are not taking any fishies home, the experience lets you get close to the goldfish and and try out the old samurai pastime.
The walk down Yanagimachi Shotengai is also pleasant, as this shopping street dates back to the Edo Period and still preserves some of the charm from the old days. Picturesquelanterns adorn the streets while the wooden homes take you back in time; more so towards the southern entrance of the strip, where the goldfish theme continues. Keep an eye out for the signs guiding your through the “goldfish” walk, and also for the rustic aquariums and other random details related to the star of the neighbourhood.
The biggest highlight in the area (yes, also goldfish-themed) is K Coffee. Located in a vintage gas station, this coffee stand meets all the requirements for any top-rated coffee shop list. The atmosphere is chilled, the pour over coffee delicious, and the open sitting area provides a good setting to take a break. But besides all that, what draws visitors to K Coffee day in and day out has to be the phone booth that greets customers. Don’t count on making
any emergency phone calls here though, the booth is filled with water and live goldfish of various sizes swimming around and gazing out at the locals passing by. After the caffeine boost in the good company of our golden celebrities, you’ll be set to continue your trip back to central Nara.
- K Coffee
- Nara Pref. Yamatokoriyamashi Yanagi 4-46
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