National | CHUBU SPECIAL 2015

A ribbon of tradition running through Nagoya

Publicity

Shikemichi, a small historical street in Nishi Ward, Nagoya, is adorned with old warehouses and quaint, traditional Japanese-style houses that today house stylish cafes and shops. Sengen Shrine stands at the southern end of the street.

The origin of the Shikemichi area dates back more than 400 years to 1612, around the time Nagoya Castle was being built, when merchants began their activities along the Horikawa Canal, using the waterway as a means of transportation.

A large fire called Genroku no Taika broke out in 1700, destroying a large number of the merchant houses, as well as 15 temples and shrines in Nagoya.

Following the fire, Tokugawa Yoshimichi, the fourth lord of Owari Province, decided to widen the back street that runs parallel to the canal. The street measured four ken (or shike), or about seven meters, which is believed to by some to be the origin of the name Shikemichi.

It is said that it took 40 years for the whole area to be rebuilt, with the warehouses rebuilt with plaster walls on their east sides as a precaution against future fires.

The street was designated a historic conservation district by the city of Nagoya in 1986.

Shikemichi can be accessed from Marunouchi Station on the Tusrumai Line or Kokusai Center Station on the Sakuradori Line.