Omihachiman (part2)

                     Omihachiman (Part 2)

     

 

     Establishment of Omihachiman dates back to the period of civil wars in the 16th century when a tragic hero Hidetsugu Toyotomi, nephew of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, built a castle on the top of Mt. Hachiman here. Omi-shonin (Omi-merchants) developed the town more prosperous. I knew Omi-shonin by name because it is famous for its Japan-wide business activities but I did not know that Omihachiman was the origin of it before I came here. However, such a puzzle was easily solved as soon as I looked down from the top of Mt. Hachiman. A moat in the heart of the town connects the town and Lake Biwa, the largest in Japan, and then the Yodo River combines the Lake and Kyoto & Osaka, and finally the River reaching the sea that has made the easy access to towns all over Japan. When I stood by the white store-house alongside Hachimann-bori moat, I could easily imagine that Omi-merchants in Edo period went back and forth by boat, vigorously selling and buying foods in the mountain and the sea as well as urban and rural renowned goods from place to place. Omihachiman surely flourished as one of the trading centers!

 

 

近江八幡(2)

   

 

   近江八幡の由来は豊臣秀吉の甥で悲劇のヒーロー豊臣秀次がここ八幡山の頂に城を築いた16世紀の戦国時代にさかのぼります。近江商人がこの町をさらに繁栄させました。商業活動を全国展開したことで有名なので近江商人は言葉の上では知っていましたが、近江八幡がその発祥地であることはここに来るまで知りませんでした。しかし、その謎は八幡山から眼下を見るや否や解けました。この町の中心部にある堀が日本最大の琵琶湖を町と結び、淀川を介して琵琶湖と京都、大阪を結び、最後に海に達する、そのことが全国の町と容易に行き来を可能にしているのです。八幡堀沿いの白壁の土蔵のそばに立つと、江戸時代の近江商人が船で行き来して、各地の町や田舎の名産品も、海の幸、山の幸も活発に売り買いをしていたことが容易に頭で想像できました。交易の中心地のひとつとして近江八幡は間違いなく繁栄したのです!

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