While returning from our visit to the Iya Valley, we drove to a roadside rest stop near Oboke station that has a Yokai House and a Museum of Rocks and Minerals. Yokai are monsters and ghosts in traditional Japanese folklores. Children grew up reading Yokai stories and some characters were made popular by manga and animes.
But we aren’t familiar with these Yokai characters so it would be a waste to pay for the entrance to the Yokai House or the Gems Museum.
We first came across this rest stop in a local TV programme “Japan Hour” on Channelnewsasia, many years ago. Little did we know we would one day really stop by this place.
Here is a weird looking sculpture of a dragon and lady head carved from a log.
And a Godzilla guarding the entrance.
The interior looks really nice with lots of information about Yokai and the nearby Yokai village that is well known as the hometown of a popular manga character. Not really sure who that is. The Yokai village also hold annual monster parade for the locals to get together.
If travelling with children, this might be a good place for them to stretch their legs and have some fun. Brilliant idea of building a monster house at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere.
The rest stop is a big building sitting beside the main road leading to and fro Iya valley. Besides the museums, there is a really nice cafe with superb view of the mountains and valley. The Iya and Oboke area is a location in the centre of Shikoku island, surrounded by many mountains and deep valley. The scenery is beautiful and there are many viewing spots for visitors to take the best photos. The Yokai House rest stop is one such spot. It was even featured in a TV programme that we watched before.
The weather was cooling and it feels really great having a cup of coffee outdoor sitting at the edge of the valley overlooking the mountains.
This is the cafe interior. It was almost empty when we were there at around 4pm so we had the whole place to ourselves. It is always nice visiting the rural areas of Japan with little to no tourists at all!
The Yokai House rest stop at Oboke biggest attraction is the Yokai museum, but it is almost only accessible by car. Although there is train service about 1 KM away, train is not the most popular choice of transport for visitors. So if you are visiting the Iya valley by car, then Yokai House might be of interest to you.