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History and Folklore Museum (Omihachiman City Museum)

Shiga

Learn about commerce in Japan from the artifacts of the Omi merchants, who contributed to the modernization of Japan

(c) Biwako Visitors BureauThe History and Folklore Museum is part of the Omihachiman City Museum, which also encompasses the Local History Museum, the former Nishikawa Residence, and the former Ban Residence. The museum was opened in 1979, in a restored late Edo period building that had formerly been home to an Omi merchant called Mori Gorobee.

Mori Gorobee I dealt in tobacco and hemp cloth, and eventually expanded the range of goods that he handled to include silk, cotton, and linen goods, even opening stores in the Nihonbashi area of Edo and the Hommachi area of Osaka. The Omi merchants have a long history, and they are said to be one of the three main groups of merchants in Japan, ranking alongside the Osaka merchants and the Ise merchants. Starting in the Meiji period (1868-1912), they are said to have contributed significantly to the modernization of the Japanese economy, as Japanese society underwent a major transition, and the lineage of many large corporations in Japan today can be traced back to Omi merchants.

This museum features many exhibits that show how the Omi merchants of yesteryear did business and went about their daily lives, allowing visitors to see the origins of commerce in Japan. In addition, there are numerous exhibits associated with folk culture, including a display in the back garden of farming implements and formerly everyday items that have now come to be regarded as folk craft artifacts, providing a valuable insight into life in riverside agricultural communities.

Information

Address: 2-chome, Shinmachi, Omihachiman City, Shiga
Phone: 0748-32-7048
Hours open to visitors: 9:00-16:30 (admission until 16:00)
Admission Fee: 500 yen (admission to four facilities: Local History Museum, History and Folklore Museum, Former Nishikawa Residence, and Former Ban Residence)
Closed: Mondays (the following Tuesday if a national holiday falls on a Monday), days which follow national holidays, year-end and New Year holidays. *The facility is open every day during the peak tourist seasons in the spring and fall. *The facility is open every day in April, May, October and November.
Directions: By train: A 6-minute bus ride from Omihachiman Station (on the JR Biwako Line, 1 hour away from Shin-Osaka Station) to Obata-cho Shiryokan mae. Then a short-walk to the destination
By car: About a 30-minute drive from Yokaichi Interchange on Meishin Expressway

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