Omihachiman in Shiga Prefecture located in the east shore of Lake Biwa is widely known as the birthplace of ‘Omi-shonin’, the merchants from Omi district.
There are a good many long-established big businesses in Japan, among which a considerable number of them are originally from here Omihachiman. They are what is called ‘Omishonin’, the traders from Omi the old name of this district, and found their way into Kyoto, Osaka and Edo to achieve success in all kinds of industries, some of these businesses are still running in modern Japan.
The narrow canal flanked with the old warehouses, called Hachiman-bori,in the picture above is the chief attraction of this city, where many trading ships navigating Lake Biwa used to drop in with useful information for profitable business. Omi-shonin was born here thanking to this historical background.
There also remains the old townscape, in the picture below, near Hachiman-bori.
This typical of Japan’s old commercial district brings us a lot of pleasure from strolling around.
As the scenery of Hachiman-bori bears a resemblance to the downtown view of Edo, present Tokyo, around in the 18th century, many period films are often made on location here likening the place to old Nihonbashi and its vicinity in Edo present Tokyo.
By Masahisa Takaki.
Omihachiman Station, Shiga Prefecture, Japan