Discover the many charms of Tadaoka,

the smallest town in Japan!

Explore the Charms of Tadaoka, the Smallest Town in Japan

The town of Tadaoka is the smallest town in Japan, with an area of slightly less than four square kilometers. It has a population under 17,000 people, with a population density of around 4,200 people per square kilometer. Despite its size, the town has a number of worthwhile locations worth visiting during your stay in Senshu.

A Close-Knit Community

The Tadaoka Danjiri Festival.

Tadaoka has developed into a close community of residents who are known for their friendliness. There is a strong bond within the community; everyone is said to know and look out for other, to the point where it is even acceptable to scold neighboring children should they do something naughty. Speaking of children, the town only has two elementary schools and one junior high school. Students in the area commute to high schools in neighboring towns. The smallest part of the smallest town in Japan is a 900-meter-long section of road. This narrow road can be traversed by car in under a minute, a real blink-and-you-miss-it way to get through Tadaoka.


The town hosts its eponymous Tadaoka Danjiri Festival every October. It is a festival that started in the Edo period (1603-1868) to pray for bountiful harvests and safety, during which floats called danjiri are showcased from four neighborhoods within the town. They are believed to host Shinto gods from local shrines, and are paraded through the town. Compared to the famous Kishiwada Danjiri Festival, the Tadaoka Festival is a more restrained version, mostly attended by members of the local community. This means that the festival is less crowded, and visitors can get up close and personal with the highly decorative floats to admire the local craftsmanship.

Enjoy the Old-Fashioned Ambience of the Masaki Art Museum

Admire the collection of the museum’s founder, Takayuki Masaki.

Takayuki Masaki (1895-1985) was a very highly regarded collector of Asian works of art. In 1968, Masaki donated the art, land, and buildings that he had collected over so many years, and founded the Masaki Art Museum, where his impressive collection is on display. 


The museum currently holds 1,300 works, including three National Treasures and 13 Important Cultural Properties. The Masaki Memorial House, located next to the museum, is also a registered Tangible Cultural Property. It was constructed in 1945 as Takayuki’s home, and is now one of the museum’s facilities. On weekdays, visitors can only enter the garden. On weekends and holidays during exhibitions, visitors can enjoy tours of a portion of the building, though tours may be unavailable depending on the event schedule. 

Gaze at the surrounding greenery from a beautiful tatami room in the Masaki Memorial House.

Exhibitions are curated around a theme, and appropriately themed works are selected from the collection. Some notable works include ink paintings, calligraphy, tea ceremony utensils—which Takayuki began collecting in his 50s—and a portrait of Sen no Rikyu (1522-1591), an individual from the local area who is attributed with the founding of tea ceremony.


The Masaki Art Museum is about a 15-minute walk from Tadaoka Station which is served by the Nankai Line. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday in fall and spring. It is closed during the summer and winter months. Entrance is ¥700 per person, and the exhibitions change with every season. Detailed information on the works is only available in Japanese.

Visit the Power Spots of Tadaoka

These Chinese juniper trees have watched over the town for centuries.

Eifukuji Temple is part of the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) school of Buddhism. By following a path reciting the Amida Buddha’s name (Nembutsu) while always reflecting on oneself, it is taught that life shall be lived by expressing one’s gratitude without prayer or superstition. It is believed that by doing so, an individual will be born into the Pure Land after death and attain enlightenment. Once attained, the individual can return to our imperfect world and guide others to enlightenment. The Eifukuji Temple grounds—located in Tadaoka—are also home to several ancient Chinese juniper trees, the oldest of which is at least 1,400 years old.


Tadaoka Shrine is the main Shinto shrine in Tadaoka, and is home to a sacred pine tree called “Mii-san,” which is said to improve luck with money and help people win the lottery. While the year in which the shrine was founded is unknown, an official record in 1701 describes the shrine as being very old, suggesting that the shrine has been in this location for centuries. Visitors can embrace the quiet shrine, void of crowds except for visitors from the local community, and purchase lucky charms sold there.

Taste the Finest Gyoza Dumplings in the Area

Locals love the delicious gyoza dumplings at Yakko!

After a full day of sightseeing, be sure to head over to Yakko, a restaurant with a vibrant and friendly atmosphere that specializes in gyoza pork dumplings. The original restaurant opened 70 years ago, serving udon (thick noodles made from flour) and other dishes. It has been a family business since its inception. The current owner is the third generation of the family. The restaurant changed focus to making dumplings 45 years ago. The recipe has remained unchanged since the restaurant opened.


They pride themselves in making healthy gyoza by using domestically sourced pork and locally sourced vegetables. The standard dipping sauce in Japan is made from soy sauce and vinegar, but this restaurant has also made their own version of a dipping sauce which includes miso paste, giving the gyoza a sweet and sour flavor. The final product is very light, so visitors can keep eating their fill without feeling guilty.


For information on a private tour of the Masaki Art Museum with an English-speaking guide, contact the Senshu Japan Concierge Team.

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