¨HOME@THE HACHIMAN MERCHANT ¨JAPANESE

Hachiman merchant

Among the Ohmi merchants, Hachiman merchants started their trading activity early.
Merchants from Azuchi castle town of Nobunaga Oda and people from villages of Kotou, moved to Hachimanyama castle town,
which was constructed when Hidetsugu Toyotomi rose to power.
People, who moved there, became townspeople of Hachiman.
They were descendants of Ohmi traders, who lived in Honai and Gokasho (now known as Higashiohmi city) during middle ages of Japan,
and so they had inherited a long tradition of trading from their ancestors.
By geographical advance and new laws ("Rakuichirakuza" and "Shoekimenjo") made by Nobunaga and Hidetsugu,
Hachimanyama castle town became important point for ship traffic.
This lifted motivation of occupants of the castle town.
Among Hachiman merchants, Tarouemon Nishimura and Kanbee Shamuroya, stood out.
Tarouemon Nishimura traveled to Annam in Vietnam by shogunate'‚“ licensed trading ship for trading.
Kanbee Shamuroya traveled to Thailand and it has been said, that he brought color dyes from there.
In early years of Edo period, Hachimanyama castle, together with castle town was abandoned.
This was the reason why merchants started to move to new areas.

As early as construction of Edo castle town was finished, a large shopping street was opened in Nihonbashi by Hachiman merchants;
Jingoro Nishikawa, Denbee Ban, Shouemon Ban, and Hachiro Yotsugi.
Keeping Hachiman as their main residence, business of Hachiman merchant reached the whole country,
In places like Kyoto, Osaka, Hokkaido, Touhoku, Kantou, Chubu, Chugoku and Kyushu, shops were opened.
Special feature of Hachiman merchant's business was to instead of thinking risks,
bet quickly to the chance and as example, get on boom building castle towns which was really popular among feudal lords in that time.
At first, when business had just started, Hachiman merchants did peddling in the streets,
but soon after that, in big cities like three capitals, they established few, but large scale stores, selling goods from both east and west.

Hachimanyamashita chochu okitegaki
(stored in Ohmi hachiman municipal museum warehouse, important cultural property)

-----Ohmi Hachiman area-----

Use a bus from JR Ohmihachiman Station or Ohmi railway station. It takes about 7 minutes to reach bus stop "Obata cho shiryoukan mae",
from where 1 minute walk is required to reach the municipal museum.

Municipal museum

Museum of home towns, museum of history and folklore, former Nishikawa family residence (important cultural property of Japan),
former residence of Ban family (cultural property of Ohmi Hachiman city), in these 4 museums,
history and culture of Ohmi Hachiman and Hachiman merchant's lifestyle can be learned
Exhibitions are held around the year.

Entrance fee: Adult 500 yen, child 300 yen
Closed day and holidays: Monday (excepting national holidays), next day of national holidays
and New Year holidays, (months, May, October and November, are vacationless)

Hachiman canal

Hachiman canal was made when Hidetsugu Toyotomi (nephew of Hideyoshi), started construction of castle town in Hachimanyama, in 1585.
As the canal was connected to Biwa Lake, Hidetsugu invited ships, moving in the lake to stop near castle town,
where, for this reason, people, goods and gossips started to gather.
Furthermore, with new law "Rakuichirakuza", that weakened strict regulations surrounding business establishment in market places,
castle town became a very lively city.

Hakuunkan
(tourist information center)

Hakuunkan was originally built as Hachiman higashi school, in 1877.
Now the building is known as valuable example of a mix of european architecture and traditional Japanese craftsmanship.
Building was restored in 1994, now used as gallery and tourist information center.
Special products and souvenirs are displayed and sold.

Shinmachi-street

Shinmachi-street was first place to be selected as valuable traditional architectures preservation district, in Shiga prefecture.
Street, where Ohmi merchants' residences are still standing in a row, as well various warehouses,
with white plaster walls and pines, give a watcher a feeling of calm elegance
Facing towards Shinmachi-street, Ohmi Hachiman municipal city museum is located,
where you can tour the former residences of Ohmi merchats.

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