The symbol of Asakura, Fukuoka's leading rice producer, is the Asakura Triple Waterwheel. It is also the oldest working waterwheel in Japan, and was designated as a national historic site in 1990.
The Asakura Triple Waterwheel was built in 1789 during the mid-Edo period, and is said to be the fruit of wisdom that brought together the best of agricultural technology at the time.
Since its completion, it has been responsible for delivering water to farmland for over 200 years, and it continues to deliver water to a vast 350,000 square meter farmland today.
It is also affectionately known as the ``Rural SL'' because when you approach the water wheel, which rotates gently as it is pushed by the water, you hear a thumping sound that reverberates through your body.
This three-wheel waterwheel is actually not active all year round, but it starts moving in mid-June in conjunction with Shinto rituals, and finishes its work for the year around October, when the ears of rice turn golden.
In a nearby park, a life-sized monument of a triple waterwheel is on display, which is still in operation from autumn to spring, when the actual waterwheels are not in operation.
Many tourists visit this place because they can see the impressive movement of waterwheels up close.
■ Basic information
Name: Asakura triple waterwheel
Address: Hishino, Asakura City, Fukuoka Prefecture
Nearest station: Nishitetsu Asakura Kaido Station (60 minutes by bus)
Business hours: Open for viewing anytime
No regular holiday
Parking: Parking available in nearby parking lots
*Please check the website for detailed information.