Esashi is the place where many elements of Hokkaido's culture, including internationally known Esashi Oiwake (folk music), originated. In Esashi, the unique Esashi culture created by merchants during the Edo period can still be experienced today. The three major festivals of Esashi held in July, August and September offer much to see. In particular, the Esashi-Ubabami Daijingu Togyo Festival, which is held by Hokkaido's oldest shrine and boasts the longest history of its kind in Hokkaido, is a powerful three-day festival during which 13 floats decorated with whipping windsocks and imperial standard banners run throughout the town along with flowing Gion-bayashi music. The town, which was involved deeply in the Boshin War, is also a place where you can feel the mood of excitement from the end of the Edo period. Culinary highlights of this region include fresh seafood such as squid, sea urchin and abalone. In addition, the town's specialty, nishin soba noodles, is an excellent dish visitors must try to truly understand life in Esashi.
A beautiful, dignified townscape surrounded by the atmosphere of the Meiji and Taisho periods
Enjoy the spirit of adventure in the olden times by appreciating the historical streetscape
The old-time atmosphere vividly remains today Inishie Kaido Street
Esashi flourished from the production of Japanese cypress wood, herring fishery, and the trading of such merchandise using Kitamae ships until the early Meiji period. There are a number of historical and cultural heritages that still remain, including tonya (wholesale stores), kura (storehouses), shoka (merchant houses) and machiya (townhouses). The beautiful scenery of Inishie Kaido Street has been improved as a historical streetscape. The street gives visitors the opportunity to casually enjoy a stroll and to visit historical spots, as well as offers them a sense of peace as a place to take a break.Read more
Aza Nakauta-cho and Ubagami-cho area, Esashi-cho, Hiyama-gun, Hokkaido 043-8560
Contact: Esashi Tourist Information Center Tel. 0139-52-0117; Esashi Sightseeing Convention Association Tel. 0139-52-4815
Important Cultural Property Old Nakamura Residence
Shipping Agency retaining features from the time of the flourishing herring fishery
This is a two-story merchant house built by Uhee Ohashi, a merchant from Omi (currently Shiga Prefecture) in the Edo period, that is made entirely of Hiba wood. The foundation was created by building up Shakudani stone transported by Kitamae ships. The house is composed of four connected structures (main house, document storehouse, shita-no-kura warehouse and cantilever) stretching from the main house to the beach side. The second floor is a tokonoma (decorative alcove) using plenty of rosewood and ebony (these are two of three rare Japanese wood materials), and the lavish walls were built in the style of Shoin-zukuri.
Aza Nakauta-cho 22, Esashi-cho, Hiyama-gun, Hokkaido 043-0034 ♦Tel.: 0139-52-1617
♦Admission fees: Adults 300 yen, Elementary - high school 100 yen (10% discount on groups of 15 or more people) ♦Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
♦Closed: Open every day from April 1 to the end of October. From November 1 to March 31, closed on Mondays and the day following a national holiday. Closed during the year-end and New Year holidays (Dec. 31 - Jan. 5).
Contact: Esashi Town Oiwake Tourism Division's Tourism Section Tel. 0139-52-6716
Excellence of folk music, the heart of Esashi Esashi Oiwake Hall
Esashi Oiwake has its roots in Magouta (a genre of Japanese folk music), which was sung by horsemen on the Nakasendo route in Shinshu (currently Nagano Prefecture) during the Edo period. It spread nationwide as a type of popular song and was brought to Esashi on the Kitamae ship. It is a folk song representing Hokkaido that has been sung and handed down for more than 200 years. Esashi Oiwake was born from the harsh natural environment and lifestyle of the northern country, and is a song of tribute to those who lived in this environment. The emotional melody captures our hearts.
Real Esashi Oiwake performed by professionals, including national competition winners from this area and masters of this music, can be enjoyed in sajiki box seats in a room the size of about 100 tatami mats.
Aza Nakauta-machi 193-3, Esashi-cho, Hiyama-gun, Hokkaido 043-0034 Tel.: 0139-52-0920
♦Admission fees: Adults 500 yen, Elementary - high school 250 yen (10% discount on groups of 15 or more people) ♦Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
♦Closed: Open every day from April 1 to the end of October. From November 1 to the end of March, closed on Mondays and the day following a national holiday, and the year-end and New Year holidays (Dec. 31 - Jan. 5).
An architectural structure depicting the lifestyle of the time Yokoyama Residence
The Esashi Yokoyama family is a merchant household representing Esashi that has run fishery, shipping and commercial businesses for around 250 years from its foundation to the present (currently the eighth generation). The current building was constructed about 200 years ago. With housewares and other goods used at the time of the flourishing herring fishery on display in the main house and the yonban-kura storehouse, the house plays an important role in handing down information about the lifestyle of the time. Visitors can also try nishin soba, the first and most traditional local gourmet dish in Hokkaido, at this house that has been designated as a Hokkaido Tangible Folk Cultural Property in 1963.Read more
Aza Ubagami-cho 45, Esashi, Hiyama, Hokkaido 043-0041 Tel.: 0139-52-0018
♦Admission fees: Adults 300 yen, Junior high - high school 150 yen, Elementary school and younger free (10% discount on groups of 30 or more people) ♦Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
♦Closed: irregularly; open every day from late April to late November. Reservations required from December to April.
Take a break and enjoy the taste of a long-established shop after strolling on Inishie Kaido Street.
Café & Sweets Ichibankura Cakes & drinks
Located almost in the center of Esashi Inishie Kaido Street, this is a café renovated from a mud-plastered storehouse. All of the cakes are made from scratch using reliable ingredients produced in Hokkaido. Cakes can be taken out or eaten at the café space in the storehouse.
♦Address: Ubagami-cho 42-3, Esashi-cho, Hiyama-gun, Hokkaido ♦Tel.: 0139-52-5789 ♦Hours: 10:00 - 18:00