Matsumaecho, Hokkaido

In the spring, huge groups of herring gathered in sufficient numbers near Matsumae to change the color of the sea. Omi merchants who opened stores in Matsumae in the 17th century sold products such as herring, kelp and dried abalone in the markets of Kyoto, Osaka, and other cities. They brought kimono and related kimono accessories and products, as well as rice, miso Matsumae. As a result, the culture of Kyoto spread. Many of the temples’ garden trees (cherry blossoms, camellia, etc.) are thiought to have been brought to Matsumae around this time.

  • ports of call

Cultural Heritage Property of Matsumaecho

  • Fukuyama Wharf

    A square pole made of granite and piled as ballast for Kitamae-bune, and a breakwater where a mooring post for the ships still remains.

  • The Site of the Okiguchi Government Office

    The site of a government office that controlled Kitamae-bune entering and exiting the port.

  • Matsumae Folding Screen

    A folding screen that was made on the order of the Okada family, who were Omi merchants made rich through Kitamae-bune. The screen depicts the allotment of land, buildings and the life of the Matsumae castle in the middle of the 18th century.

  • A Storehouse with Thick Mortar Walls and Exhibits of the Matsumoto Family

    A storehouse with thick mortar walls belonging to the Matsumoto family, which was an important part of the Kitamae-bune. The historical exhibits include material such as navigation logbooks that documented the trade of Kitamae-bune, ship names, frames and other details.

  • The Fukuyama Castle Town Ruins

    The site of the town as seen by its ruins. Small cargo vessel wholesalers and shipowners of Kitamae-bune lived here together.

  • Ryuunin

    The main temple of Ryuunin temple had a roof with Echizen tiles which are thought to have been carried by Kitamae-bune.

  • The Tomb of the Matsumae Family, Lords of Matsumae

    The tomb of the Matsumae family, who were the lords of Matsumae. There is a stone mausoleum made of Shakudani-ishi stone, which is said to have been carried on Kitamae-bune.

  • "Matsumae Okiage" song

    A chant that fishermen sang when catching herring, which was the major product shipped by Kitamae-bune.

  • An Ema of a Shipwreck

    An ema dedicated by the head Kitamae-bune shipman as part of prayers for safety at sea.

  • Matsumae Gion Bayashi (Music Festival)

    This festival is said to have been brought by Omi merchants who were part of the Kitamae-bune trade.