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    Omihachiman LogoShiga Prefecture is centrally located in the Japanese archipelago at ithe intersection of Kinki, Chubu and Hokuriku areas. Its long history and geography property produced various cultures and industries.

    Omihachiman City is also centrally located in Shiga Prefecture. To the east, Gamo Plain stretches from the Suzuka Mountains, and Lake Biwa spreads from its northwest side. Its figure looks like an ogi (Japanese fan).

    Its size is 12.6 kilometers from east to west, 15.4 kilometers from north to south, and 77.51 square kilometers. Now it is a core city of the central area of Shiga Prefecture.

    In Omihachiman there are many well-known ruins and graves. In medieval times, many plantation fields were placed by aristocrats. Also, many temples , shrines, and markets located in the area. In 1585 Toyotomi Hidetsugu, one of the Japanese warrior administrators, built the castle on the top of Mt. Hachiman and at its foot he removed the industrial area from Azuchi and named it Hachimancho. The shape of the town was strictly rectangular. Hidetsugu's political protection of industry made the town prosper and many people came there from all around the nation. But tragedy attacked Hidetsugu and Hachimancho. The castle was completely destroyed and Hachimancho as a castle town was terminated. People in Hachimancho were forced to live on commerce. They succeeded in that field by way of the nationwide trading which was called "gyosyo". The merchants had become know as "Omishonin" (Omi merchants) and Hachiman, as one of their franchises, kept prospering through the Tokugawa Era.

    In 1871, Haihanchiken, a political reform executed by the Meiji government, made Hachimancho a component of Otu prefecture and the next year Shiga Prefecture replaced Otu Prefecture. In 1954, Hachimancho, Okayamamura, Kanedamura, Kiriharamura and Mabuchimura unified into Omihachiman City. In 1955-56, Kitastomura and Musamura joined Omihachiman.

    The historical preservation district, Hachiman District is located at the center of old Hachimancho. Old Hachimancho was divided into two areas by the Hachimanbori. One, near to the mountain, was were the Samurai lived and the other was were the merchant and craftspeople lived. The latter were arranged in a rectangle with twelve north-south streets and four east-west streets. Its west half was a merchant area named Uwaicho (the block of fishmongers). Its east half was were craftspeople named Daikucho (carpenters) lived.

    Hachimanbori is said to have had two important roles; one is for military defense and the other is for industry as a distribution port for lake ships.

    Picture of historic canal district