Luxury one day drive Vol.1

Oumihachiman, the birthplace of the Oumi merchants, ahead of the times

Written・Pictures by:Ohara Takako

Ohara Takako
Kyoto sightseeing hospitality Ambassador & travel writer
She graduated from Ochanomizu University. Has been worked in Sanrio sales promotion department, radio Australia broadcasting reporter, and the TV man union interview producer. At present, she main writing about the cultural and tourism information of Japan such as Kyoto is transmitted by blog “cat Miomo’s travel in Japan”. Lives in Kyoto.

It takes 1 hour by car from Kyoto City. Oumihachiman which remains the appearance of an old merchant house located in the eastern part of Lake Biwa is a castle town which has flourished in rakuichi rakuza in the Tensho era centering on ‘Hachiman hori’ which flows on the northern side. In the streets lined up in the north, crossing the town from the east to the west, the houses of black walls and tiled walls of black walls are surrounded by houses, and they feel like a time trip in the Edo period. Hideyoshi’s nephew Hidetsugu was the residence of Mt. Hachiman, which was one of the most important places in town. In the historical drama, after being a kanpaku, he was deprived of his position in the birth of hideyori, desperately desperate, drowned by alcohol, and became violent. Furthermore, he was forced to commit a rebellion against Hideyoshi and committed seppuku (cut the belly by himself). The family is often depicted in the form of a tragedy samurai who was executed in Sanjo Kawahara. However, as far as I visit Oumihachiman, and talk to the people and make the town, it is understood that it is a very reliable and new person who is very different from the image, and is positively dependent on the people’s life.

It is said that Hidetsugu started to build the town of Oumihachiman around 1585, when he was 17, so people were surprised at his talent. But it is said that Hideyoshi ordered it, as a logistics base around Lake Biwa, town planning centered on ‘Hachiman hori,’ which is a total length of six kilometers for shipping ships. Furthermore, since Orida Nobunaga once started in Azuchi Jo castle, he introduced ‘rakuichi rakuza,’ which exempted taxes, and became very active. It is said that “Oumihachiman” was the most advanced town of the time when various things, people, and information gathered from various places. After Hidetsugu died, in the Edo period, it developed as a key point of trade between Osaka and Edo, and the shape of the present town was built up by the storehouses and mansions of the wealthy merchants. Probably, the latest thing at that time was dealt with, and there must have been valuable information in various places.

It is a new town building that has been able to enforce the vassals. He is interested in the excellent skill and talent of Hidetsugu. Five years later, he was appointed as kanpaku (chief adviser to the emperor), and stayed at the residence of Hideyoshi, who had been built in Kyoto until the year when he was forced to commit seppuku. If it thinks so, the day in “Oumihachiman” for Hidetsugu probably was the most brilliant time in the short life of his 28 years. Perhaps it is only here that Hidetsugu, who has disappeared from the front stage of history, remains the path of his talents.
Also, ‘Oumihachiman’ in the form of the ideal town of Hidetsugu is the birthplace of ‘OMI merchants’ who went to peasants throughout the country. The company, which has a streamlining rationalization and a new management policy as a subject of the term, “OMI merchants”, has been supported by many companies, such as Toyota motor, Yanmar, Sumitomo, Marubeni Corporation, Wacoal, and Nishikawa industry, and has supported the current Japanese economy. If there was no Hidetsugu, it might be different now in Japan.

By the way, it is western architecture that has been actively built from the Meiji period to say that it is sensitive to the cutting-edge things of “Oumihachiman” in the past, and it tells the spirit of the resident who positively takes in the new one. In 1905, there are 24 buildings in the town which has the function of the western style which is different from the style of the Japanese house which it was designed by the architect William Merrell Vories who came to Japan from the United States first in this place as a high school English teacher first. Vories, who had a design office in Kyoto and others, is said to have designed more than 164 buildings in Japan, as well as 230 public facilities such as schools and hospitals, and 24 commercial facilities such as banks and department stores in 1918, and there is a great deal of influence on modern architectural architectures in Japan. He lived in Oumihachiman together with his wife, Makiko Ichiyanagi, and naturalized in 1941 when the Pacific War started. In 1958, Vories became the first honorary citizen of Oumihachiman city. The fact that he loved Japan as much as he acquired Japanese nationality was, of course, the existence of the wife, but the existence of the people of “Oumihachiman” who accepted and respected him as a foreigner must have been great. When the building that he designed perhaps appeared in the town, the inhabitants must have turned their eyes to surprise and curiosity. However, in the present time, the Edo style and modern Japan have made a unique distinction between them, and the charm of this town.

It is the ” Club Harie Himure Cafe ” of the Western confectionery that can be enjoyed in the building of Vories that is still used as a general residence and is not open to the public. It is a residence of Hyozo Tadada who once played an active part in the Osaka Asahi News company, and it is a western style house with the appearance of the Spanish style, and the Tokuji Yamamoto of “taneya” of the Japanese confectionery is related, and it is repaired at the time, and the four rooms are now for the rent. With the reservation of the day before, you can taste “club harrier” at 500 yen per person. In the room where antique furniture is provided, people can spend a comfortable time in there.

In the Edo period, the Yamamoto family was said to have been a lumber merchant in ‘Oumihachiman.’ In 1881, Hisayoshi Yamamoto, the seventh family head, engaged in training in Kyoto, and established a Japanese confectionery as the base of the present Taneya. From the bloodstains of ‘Oumi merchants’ excellent in business, the family heads were created and managed in those days, and the store was opened to the famous department stores in the whole country, and the direct shop expansion in the urban area such as Tokyo and business were expanded, and it was one of the Japanese confectionery representing Shiga Prefecture that there is no person doesn’t know it in Kansai. The Western confectionery department was established in 1951 at a Japanese confectionery shop. It was Vories that recommended it. The first balm firing machine was introduced, and it became the firearm of the Baumkuchen boom.
The company’s attitude to raise and cherish talented people in the family precepts of the ‘Oumi merchants’ has not changed since the foundation, and pattisie, who has gained his arm here, has won various departments in the global confectionary competition.
Omi Hachiman is a historic town that is currently an important preservation area for traditional buildings in the country. The people who live there think that they may have always had a keen sense of finding the right one for the time, and they also feel the spirit of those who have sought a place of activity on the stage of the whole country and the world based in this town. It is hideage who built the foundation after all the young castle lord. Every time I visit this town, I wonder if my historical evaluation of Hidetsugu will change. The charm of Omi Hachiman is sure to attract more attention in the future. The beauty of Hachimanbori, which is lush with greenery, is a good place for a day trip in summer.


*”Oumi Hachiman” Traffic Travel Time: The shortest course: From Kyoto South Inter, via The Meishin Expressway Ryuo Interchange, about 1 hour. Leisure course: About an hour and a half from Otsu through the Lake Zhou Road on the east side of Lake Biwa.
*”Yahatabori Tour” Time required: Approximately 35 minutes Reservation and Inquiry ☎0748-33-5020 Fee 1000 yen
*”Club Harie Nissha Cafe” Shiga Prefecture Omi-Hachiman City Miyauchi Town Higo Village ☎ 0748-33-3333 Opening Hours 9:00-17:00LL No Day Special Room Reservations:☎ 0748-33-9995