Otaru City, Hokkaido

The development of Otaru began in the latter half of the Edo period with herring fishery and continued with port development through the Meiji period. In 1869 (Meiji 2nd), when Ezo (Hokkaido) was renamed Hokkaido and the Development Commission was established, the population suddenly increased with an abundance of immigrants from all over the country. In addition to trading in the southern part of Hokkaido, Kitamae-bune began to take on a new role of transporting supplies to support the lives of these immigrants. Shipowners of Kitamae-bune entered Otaru one after another and set up new businesses, such as the establishment of commercial warehouses.

  • ports of call

Cultural Properties of Otaru City

  • Hiyoriyama Park

    A place where the sailors of Kitamae-bune forecast the weather before departing. The second lighthouse in Hokkaido was built and it became a navigational marker for Kitamae-bune.

  • Former Kitahama District Warehouses

    A large group of warehouses built by the shipowners of Kitamae-bune for the storage of transported goods. (Former Ukon Warehouse, Former Hiroumi Warehouse, Former Masuda Warehouse, Former Oie Warehouse, Former Otaru Warehouse)

  • Former Kaiyotei

    A Japanese restaurant used by shipowners and merchants of Kitamae-bune.

  • Votive goods of Sumiyoshi Shrine

    The Daiichi Torii (First Entrance Gate), donated by Shichihei Ohie and Nisaburo Hiroumi who were shipowners of Kitamae-bune, and a washbowl donated by sailors.

  • A group of funa-ema (votive tablet of a ship)

    Ebisu Shrine, Ryukoku Temple Kompiraden

  • Old photographs relating to Kitamae-bune

    Photographs such as Kitamae-bune and related areas before the Meiji 30s.

  • Exhibits of the Nishikawa Family

    Exhibits of the Nishikawa Family who ran a Kitamae-bune shipping business.