The grounds of the Fukiya elementary school were acquired from Mitsubishi Shokai in 1898. The east and west buildings were completed in 1900, followed by the main school building in 1909. The buildings are based on traditional Japanese designs but also incorporate a number of Western architectural features, such as the arrangement of trusses above the ceiling to support the roof.
It is said that the main building was designed by Saburohachi Egawa, a prominent architect of the Okayama prefectural government, and constructed by Genzaburo Sato, a master carpenter from Fukiya who built the retaining walls and supports at the Yoshioka copper mine.
Egawa came from Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima Prefecture. He was also involved in construction of the former Senkyo jinjo elementary school building in Maniwa city and a junior high school building at Shizutani (currently used by the school as an information center, located at Bizen) during his time working for the Okayama prefectural government. Egawa was famed for his wooden building designs, which became known as the Egawa style. Many of his constructions are listed as important cultural properties at the national level.
Fukiya elementary school had over 300 students at its peak in 1918, but the number of students steadily declined after the mine closed. The buildings attracted public attention for being the oldest functioning wooden school in Japan until it closed in 2012. In 2015, a conservation and refurbishment project was launched to restore its former splendour and include seismic retroffiting.
Nariwacho Fukiya 1290-1 sorghum city Okayama Prefecture