Travel to Hiyama

You are sure to discover many things about Hiyama
that no one has ever told you.

Experience history

A trip to remember days of old
and follow traces of history

Memories of ancient times remain throughout Hiyama. They are especially vivid in Kaminokuni and Esashi where Hokkaido began. Places and objects from the olden days provide us with a glimpse of people's perspectives at that time, and the valuable traces that remain today convey their power and passion.

xperience history

Higashi Honganji Temple Annex

A time-honored wooden temple built approximately 350 years ago. There is a monument of Sanoichi,
who was the founder of Esashi Oiwake, on the temple grounds.

Mysterious ghost story

Although Higashi Honganji Temple has a long history, the current structure was built in 1891. This temple succumbed to fire three times in the past. One such incident occurred in the Edo period. There was a rumor that a lover of the lord of the Matsumae Domain at the time and a Buddhist priest had a secret relationship. The domain lord sent an assassin who killed the priest. According to legend, the priest's head breathed out fire and flew around the temple, where the domain lord was staying on his way home. The temple burned to ashes and only the priest's head remained without any signs of burns.

  • Higashi Honganji Temple Annex1
  • Higashi Honganji Temple Annex2
  • Higashi Honganji Temple Annex3

Former Hiyama Nishi-gun District Office

This is the only district office existing in Hokkaido that has watched over Esashi through the Meiji, Taisho, Showa and Heisei periods.

Surrounded by the atmosphere of the Meiji period

Built in 1887, this western-style building housing a police station on the first floor and a district office on the second floor was uncommon at the time it was built. The office is currently decorated with dolls and other goods to recreate the atmosphere of that time. The highlight is the wallpaper perfectly reproduced in its original form. Inside the building, local historical documents from Esashi can be viewed and a hands-on stamp making experience, which is an activity based on the 100 stamps and 100 poems performed by Takeshiro Matsuura, can be enjoyed. The pine tree in the garden has a story behind it that says Toshizo Hijikata hit it while grieving for the sunken Kaiyo Maru ship.

Former Hiyama Nishi-gun District Office

Jokokuji Temple Main Hall

Founded in 1443 during the Muromachi period, this temple is one of the oldest temple structures in Hokkaido and has an atmosphere reminiscent of medieval times.

One of the oldest temples in Hokkaido

Located close to Katsuyamadate Castle Ruins, this Buddhist temple has been designated as a national important cultural property and has a beautiful transom painted with three colorful dragons. It is said that this temple was built by the first lord of the Matsumae Domain to console the spirit of Nobuhiro Takeda, the original forefather of the Matsumae clan. According to the sumi ink writings left in the main hall and carvings, the establishment of this temple could date back as far as the 18th century. It has a background of being converted from the Shingon-shu Sect to the Jodo-shu Sect in the mid-Edo period, which is why it retains the characteristics of those two sects.

Jokokuji Temple Main Hall

Kaiyo Maru

Underwater ruins sunk in Esashi - this Netherlandish capital battle ship,
which was state-of-the-art at the time, has been revived today.

Robust and gorgeous

Kaiyo Maru is a naval vessel built in the Netherlands at the end of the Edo period that boasted the most state-of-the-art equipment at the time. The ship was used in the Boshin War, but sank off the coast of Esashi due to a storm. The naval vessel had remained underwater in ruin, but was fully reconstructed in 1990 using the original plans from the Netherlands. The ship currently serves as the Youth Center exhibiting some of the items salvaged from the sunken Kaiyo Maru and daily utensils used at that time.

  • Kaiyo Maru2
  • Kaiyo Maru3
Kaiyo Maru1

Mt. Iozan

Nobuhiro Takeda, the original forefather of the Matsumae clan, is enshrined at Iozan Shrine. A panoramic view expands at the top of the mountain.

Watching over the northern sea

A panoramic view of Kaminokuni and a view overlooking Okushiri Island and Oshima Ohshima Island can be observed from Mt. Iozan. In the Muromachi period, the Katsuyamadate Castle built by Nobuhiro Takeda, who was the original forefather of the Matsumae clan and victorious in a conflict with the Ainu, stood there. Currently there is Iozan Shrine, which enshrines Nobuhiro Takeda, at the top of the mountain and the Katsuyamadate Castle Ruins Guidance Center, where a reconstruction model and excavated artifacts are on display half way up the mountain. The Iozan Festival is held annually in June.

Mt. Iozan

Suzakidate Castle Ruins

An ordinary guest commander who became the lord of a domain. The starting point of Nobuhiro Takeda, a man who rapidly moved up the ladder to success.

Hokkaido started here.

Nobuhiro Takeda, who was just an ordinary guest commander, successfully won a battle with the Ainu. He was recognized by Sueshige Kakizaki, one of the wealthy merchants ruling Hokkaido at the time, for his achievement and given his first castle - Suzakidate Castle. Nobuhiro Takeda was then allowed to call himself Kakizaki and built the foundation of the Matsumae Domain in various locations. Suzakidate Castle played a role as an important base for the north bank of the Amanogawa River until the beginning of the Edo period.

Suzakidate Castle Ruins

Ginko Ogino

Japan's first female doctor obtained a national license, opened a clinic in Setana, and followed her dreams in Imakane

  • Ginko Ogino1
  • Ginko Ogino2
Japan's first female doctor

Ginko Ogino is known as the first qualified female doctor in Japan. She is also famous as the model for a novel, Hanauzumi, written by Junichi Watanabe. Ogino was a pioneer of the women's liberation movement. She came to Hokkaido with her husband, Yukiyoshi Shikata, to realize a utopia and opened the Ogino clinic specializing in obstetrics and pediatrics in Setana in 1897. She thereafter engaged in medical care for pioneers of Hokkaido development for 11 years.
In 1967, a monument was established in Setana-ku (Setana Ward) in honor and recognition of contributions made by Ginko Ogino. The place is now a recreation area for local residents known as Ogino Ginko Small Park.

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