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
and so they had inherited a long tradition of trading from their
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,
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
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
(stored in Ohmi hachiman municipal museum warehouse, important
-----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.
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
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
castle town became a very lively city.
(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
Special products and souvenirs are displayed and sold.
Shinmachi-street was first place to be selected
as valuable traditional architectures preservation district, in
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
Facing towards Shinmachi-street, Ohmi Hachiman municipal city
museum is located,
where you can tour the former residences of Ohmi merchats.