Borderless Art Museum NO-MA

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The ‘Omi Merchants’ and the Preserved Historical Buildings Area

The famous ‘Omi merchants’ came from Omi-Hachiman and the surrounding area. The adept businessmen of days past, were known to trade everywhere from Tokyo to Hokkaido, and, in some cases, overseas.

They believed that the basis of all business is trust. They placed stringent rules against the opportunistic raising of prices when the supply of a product was low. They believed, first and foremost, in serving their communities. Their relationships were based on respect. They were very active in renovating old bridges. They were also working closely with temples to contribute, as much as they could, back to society.

The areas of Shinmachi and Nagahara-cho are where these Omi-merchants used to live. This is designated “an important traditional building preservation area”. The traditional lattice doors and beautiful well-preserved architecture is one of the main attractions for tourists visiting Omi-Hachiman.

Due to an aging population, and general decline in the number of residents, many houses are unfortunately left empty. In recent years there have been municipal led initiatives to revive this historic area by converting these cherished old buildings into cafes and salons.