Vories Architecture Tour

Vories Architecture Tour

place Area: Omihachiman access_time Published: 2021.03.22


Potter on foot around the beautiful town of Ōmihachiman and visit the architectural gems left by the resident American architect and missionary William Merrell Vories.


Vories, born in Kansas in 1880, lived most of his life to 1964 in Japan, where he came as an English teacher and a missionary. He began an architectural practice in Ōmihachiman and also sold a popular ointment. Many of the quietly elegant buildings designed by Vories can still be seen in Ōmihachiman today, among streets of houses dating back to the Edo period.

This tour starts at Ōmihachiman Station from where you drive to the old part of Ōmihachiman to potter around some of these buildings, which include private homes, and public buildings including a church, police station, post office, and a school. Lunch is at a restaurant serving delicious Asian food located in a traditional Japanese building among the old streets. Although the focus of the tour is on the architecture of Vories, you also get to see a lot of Ōmihachiman and Toyosato.

Year round

Time required
6.5 hours


  • The route is mostly flat, so anyone of average fitness can complete it.
  • It’s advisable to have adequate protection against sun and rain.
  • Entry to most of the buildings we visit requires removing your shoes, so please wear slip-on shoes if possible.