Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall, Hokkaido, Japan

Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall is a historic building in Motomachi, Hakodate City, Hokkaido. This colonial-style Western-style building was built in the Meiji era and is designated as a national important cultural property.

Former Hakodate Ward Public Hall, which stands on a hill overlooking Hakodate Port, is a beautiful building with a symmetrical colonial style and blue gray and yellow colors, built in 1910 (Meiji 43).

The public hall, which was the most modern building at that time, is still called the Motomachi landmark because of its splendid view from below Kisaka.

When the town hall was destroyed by the fire in 1907 and the plan for the construction of a new meeting place was lifted, the first generation Teppei Soma offered a donation of 50,000 yen, and construction costs in 1910 (1910) It was completed for over 58,000 yen. In addition to the new town hall, the office of the Chamber of Commerce and hotel sales were envisioned, but were not realized.

The two-storey wooden-style quasi-Western style building unique to Hokkaido, and the American Colonial Style Yokan, along with the Hoheikan in Sapporo, are attracting attention as Western-style architecture during the Meiji era. It has a symmetrical porch, a veranda in the center connected by the corridor, and a veranda on the left and right porches. The roof is tiled and has a roof window. An arabesque pattern is arranged on the sleeve of the porch, and a Western style decoration is arranged on the capital of the Corinthian column supporting the entrance and the corridor, indicating the desire of Japanese craftsmen at the time to learn Western-style building techniques. The total floor area of ​​the main building is 1,761.308 square meters (533.73 tsubo), and the attached building is 138.815 square meters (42.06 tsubo).

It was Jinzaburo Muraki who undertook the construction.

historical context
During the turbulent period from the end of the Tokugawa period to the Meiji era, Hakodate was the city that was quickly spotlighted and rapidly baptized into westernization. In 1859, the Shogunate opened three ports, Hakodate, Nagasaki and Yokohama, as foreign trade ports.

After the opening of the port, Hakodate became very lively due to the development of commerce, especially the rapid increase of imports and exports, with the commencement of overseas trade, and also flourished as a political and administrative center. This will increase the chances of contact with foreigners, and the people of Hakodate will greedily absorb foreign knowledge.

Eventually, the center of politics and administration moved to Sapporo, but Hakodate was still lively and developed as a base for sea-land transportation and domestic and foreign commerce, and its commercial area spread over all roads. In addition, the population has increased remarkably, and at that time it had the largest population in Hokkaido. During this period, brick and wooden western-style houses were built. Even if it is a Western-style store, many Japanese-Western-style buildings with Western-style structures and outer walls based on traditional stores and warehouses were seen.

With the remarkable development of the economy, various commercial organizations and banks were quickly established, and in the industry, shipyards and ironworks, particularly those related to ports, began to increase. In terms of living infrastructure, the construction of waterworks, the improvement of roads and zoning, and the installation of telegraph and telephone facilities are being made, and the city will grow steadily as a modern city.

In Hakodate, where the beach winds are strong, even a small misfire often causes a large fire immediately, and in the Meiji era nine fires (over 500 burned out units) occurred.

In the large fire of August 1907 (1907), almost all of the western city was burned down, and the town hall, which was a meeting place for inhabitants, was lost, and the Hakodate Chamber of Commerce in the hall was burned down. . In September 1907, volunteers of the inhabitants formed a public hall construction council and estimated the construction cost, which was about 60,000 yen.

The council called on the inhabitants to donate and used the town hall’s fire insurance to cover construction costs, but it wasn’t enough. After consulting with Teppei Soma, the first Australian merchant at the time, she provided 50,000 yen of funds despite her own house and store being burned down.

Based on this, the construction was proceeded at a total construction cost of about 58,000 yen. Construction started in May 1909 (1909) and was completed in the following September 43 (1910). The design was done by Asagiro Konishi of Hakodate-ku Technician, directed by Genkichi Shibuya of Hakodate-ku Technician, and contracted by Jinzaburo Muraki. Work was then undertaken for the next year’s scheduled conduct of the Crown Prince (later Emperor Taisho), and completed in the middle of 1911 (Meiji 44).

During construction, many craftsmen, carpenters, and masters, including bricklayers, painters, plasterers, and others, made full use of the new designs and techniques, and successfully completed the public hall as a local deer building.

In 1911, the Emperor Taisho arrived during the Crown Prince and became a dormitory. In addition, Emperor Showa took a break during the Regent Palace in 1922. From March 1951 to 1956, the Hakodate Regional Marine Accident Inquiry Agency was set up and served as a venue for the Marine Accident Trial in the Toyamaru accident. Demolition and restoration was performed in 1980, and returned to its original form in 1982. In 1974 (Showa 49), the main building and the attached building were designated as Important National Cultural Properties.

Architectural design

Excellent architectural design
The exterior of the building is gorgeous and will delight viewers. It is characterized by the vividness of paint coloring with a slightly bluish gray on the clapboard and yellow around the frame. The shape and shape of the central balcony and the upper gable (pediment), and the columns are rustic and friendly. The columns look Corinthian from a distance, but the stigmas and groove designs seem to be more Japanese in color. The gable decorations on both sides of the front have a Japanese-style arabesque pattern (Shinobi winter pattern). The veranda with a glass sliding door on the back side was wet edge when completed. The main building materials are local wood, such as Ezomatsu and ash. In addition, glass materials of various sizes are used abundantly.

Harmonious interior design
The hall is as gorgeous as the exterior, and has a Renaissance-like appearance common to Meiji-Western architecture. At that time, Western style architecture emphasized the style and decoration of the ceiling, and the main building uses various types according to the rating of each room. There are two types of lighting fixtures: folding type and flat type, which are used according to the room rating. Chandeliers have U-shaped and S-shaped chandeliers from the shape, with 5 large lights and 5 and 3 small lights. The U-shape is used for guest rooms and the S-shape is used for other major rooms. All chandelier designs are based on Acanthus motifs. The area around the guest room is unified with Art Nouveau, such as mantelpiece tiles and wallpaper. There are a variety of Acanthus motifs in the interior decoration. The decorations of the fittings are various, such as weaving a traditional Japanese design into a Western style, and will delight your eyes.

Ikara Costume Museum
Why don’t you take an elegant and retro commemorative photo at the old public hall in Hakodate Ward, which tells you the good old days? Wear a gorgeous dress and a rich tailcoat and stand in the history of more than 100 years, the romantic wind will dye you for a moment. Please take a photo of one of the fun memories in the retro public hall.

Wearing luxurious dresses and tailcoats, you can take a commemorative photo using the camera and video that you bring on the retro hall, the saloon reminiscent of Shimeikan and the balcony overlooking Hakodate Port.

It has been decided that large-scale conservation and repair work including seismic reinforcement will be implemented. Therefore, since the following period will be closed, we apologize for any inconvenience, but we ask for your understanding. Closed: October 1, 2018-April 2021 (planned)