Visit to Former Osawa Elementary School


This August, I visited the former Osawa Elementary School in Saku City, Nagano Prefecture again.
The last time I visited there was in 2021. I heard that after it was used as a location for a TV drama broadcast in April 2022, the number of visitors increased about tenfold in that year.

I apologize for not being able to keep up with such topics since I don’t have a TV at home, but it must be a good thing that more people were seeing the building anyway.
However when I visited this year, there were not many people there, so I guess the number of visitors has returned to what it used to be.

This is the entrance to the library on the second floor.

The school building is basically opened to the public twice a year (May and August), and the exhibits seem to be partially changed.
This time, in the staff room on the first floor and the home economics room on the second floor, free research written by the students was displayed.
The panel propped up on the door of the library entrance is a poster of the “Good old school buildings" exhibit held in 2016, which I had also seen before.

Inside the library, dozens panels of historical photos was on display.
A chronology of the school was also displayed.

The library’s walls and window frames are a different color than the outside, so it looks brighter.
On the right side of the corridor is the home economics room.

The view from the home economics room. The tiled roof is the entrance area. The building on the right is the Osawa Community Gymnasium.

To the left of the school building is the Osawa Nursery School. Both the current nursery school and the social gymnasium were originally the site of Osawa Elementary School.

Well, now. This time, I found another new thing.
The ladder that I had climbed before, and had been a bit uneasy about, was renewed.

The ladder has a label on it. It read, “The ladder to view the ceiling beam, newly built in July 1967, and remanufactured in May 2022." It was renewed last year, wasn’t it?

Wait a minute. Osawa Elementary School must have closed in March 1983.
If the ladder was installed in 1967, does that mean that this ladder has been here since the time the children were here? I don’t think it would be installed all the time because it would be an obstruction to the passage.
It would be understandable if the ladder was put up only when they looked at the attic….
The chronology says that in 1967 they set up a local archive (exhibiting materials such as earthenware, stoneware, folk tools, etc.), but maybe it got confused with that story? Or maybe they started a tour of the ceiling beam at the same time? 
I am not sure.

[Postscript] (2023.11.20)
Since I wrote this article with insufficient research, I have rewritten it in another article.

The tour guide suggested that I could also see the attic, so I decided to go up again, even though I am not good at heights.

Other people might not mind, but what I don’t like is the position of the ladder. If I accidentally step off the ladder, don’t you feel that I would fall to the downstairs at once? The feeling of insecurity makes me have weird fantasies.

But I went up. The distance between the steps is narrower than before, and the wood is solid, so it’s easier to climb.
The attic is lit by a light bulb, but it’s hard to see, so I used a strobe to take pictures.

I took the last photo without strobe because I wanted to record the impression I saw.

I walked around the building.

I moved closer to the edge of the site to capture the full view of the back of the building. The backlighting did not allow me to get a good shot, but I was able to capture the whole scene. The building was dark in the photo, so I brightened the image, but the tints were not clear.  (Even with the naked eye, the back of the building looked grayish.)

The photo of the front side is also shown. The color of the walls can be seen more clearly in the front side.
The walls were painted with white paint, which is still partially visible today.

According to the news report, there was a line of over 100 people waiting in line when the building opened to the public last May. I prefer a quieter environment, so I feel more at ease in this year’s atmosphere.
I hope that the museum will not be swayed by a temporary boom and will continue to maintain the building and its exhibits.

[Related blog  articles]
'Former Osawa Elementary School' (2021.05.07)
'A school that maintains its appearance of closing' (2018.08.20)

Koshin-etsu area

Posted by Sakyo K.