A Glimpse Into the Life of a Kitamaebune Shipowner
From the mid-Edo to the Meiji era (from the middle to the end of the 18th century), some people dreamed of making a tremendous fortune and set sail across the Sea of Japan. The ships they operated were known as Kitamaebune. Located on the shores of the Japan Sea, Hashitate is known to be one of the hamlets where the Kitamaebune shipowners and sailors lived.
This museum is hosted in a splendid mansion, the largest remaining ship-owner house in Hashitate, which used to be the residence of SAKAYA Chobei, one of the most influential Kitamaebune shipowners of his time in Hashitate. The owner of six ships, Chobei made enormous profits in the business and built a magnificent mansion over the course of around four years. Preserving the feel of the historic residence, with tatami flooring and an irori sunken hearth, the museum exhibits a large collection of maps, pictures, handwritten documents and navigation tools related to the Kitamaebune’s heyday.