Welcome to the castle town Hirosaki
Welcome. To Hirosaki, the castle town.
Kajimachi (Blacksmith Town)
At the beginning of Japan’s Edo period, Hirosaki Domain assigned blacksmiths who forged swords, armor and so on near the districts known as Honkajimachi (present-day Honmachi) and Kajimachi (present-day Kakusenmachi).
Later, during the Mid-Edo period when the flow of people and goods gained momentum, the town division shifted to the east of the castle as Shinkajimachi (present-day Kajimachi/Shinkajimachi), and the focus went from military supplies to daily miscellaneous, farming tools, shops, and so on.
Torakichi Fujita, who in the past owned an ice-making pond in Oshimizu, transported the natural ice from there by horse-drawn cart to the icehouse (natural ice storage) at Fujita Ice Factory in Kajimachi, “Fujitora/Fujita Shoten.” This natural ice was popular among locals for various applications, such as keeping fresh fish and other foods cold, and medical uses. This business was carried on by Torataro Fujita from Japan’s Meiji period through to the Taisho period, however the era of natural ice declined due to nationwide changes in the water environment and the emergence of artificial ice-making (machine-made ice), and at the beginning of the Showa period the role of selling natural ice ended. Moreover, even afterwards, the stores of Fujita Shoten along Kajimachi-dori engaged in various sales, including toy wholesale, and trading of salt, tobacco and other goods. The deeper one ventured into the shopping precinct, the wider a variety of businesses one could encounter, including lodging, pawnshops (Fujita Pawn Shop), and so on. With the mission of carrying on the role of tradespersons (merchants), this type of rectangular-shaped town division has been preserved to this day.
Jotokaku in the Showa period
With the opening of Konan Railway Owani Line Chūō-Hirosaki Station in 1952, the flow of people shifted to the city center, which resulted in the emergence of prominent shopping districts northeast of Kajimachi. With the idea of creating a place for the people who served as the “backbone of the era” (farmers who’d just gathered their harvests, laborers returning home from jobs far afield, white-collar workers and their guests, tourists, etc.), Torataro took advantage of the terrain characterized by the town division of the castle town, and created a “lane” to open the area up to people. Restaurants and bars were set up along both sides of this lane, signaling the start of the Jotokaku era.
～ Completion of “Jotokaku in the Reiwa period” 60 years after founding～
In 2019, sixty years after Jotokaku was born, the new Jotokaku project began as a makeover initiative to enhance the value of the overall area and restore vigor to the shopping district of Hirosaki, a country town, as part of regional revitalization amidst Japan’s declining birth rate and aging population dilemma.
Connecting to the adjacent Dotemachi Shopping Arcade and Kakumi-koji, the new art gallery, etc., Edo period’s Hirosaki Castle and five-story pagoda, Zenringai, Western-style structures such as churches built in the Meiji and Taisho periods, modern buildings erected in the Showa period, student towns for Hirosaki University, etc., Jotokaku is the artery to a variety of local culture assets that hold great significance for the residents of Hirosaki. As the “cultural hub for human interaction” taking advantage of the region’s craftsmanship and exploration on foot, the town will continue creating spaces promoting the livelihood and vigor of this city from the merchant town of Kajimachi.
It is our wish that Jotokaku be utilized for many long years as a new lane space of the Reiwa period where everyone, from residents in everyday use to visitors from Japan and abroad, irrespective of age or gender, “grow and enjoy together.” Please continue to support Jotokaku.
Lane opened and completed in August, 2019
Jotokaku TSUNAGARU Alley Promotion Association
Jotokaku Co., Ltd.