The Town of Makabe on the southern side of Sakuragawa looks almost unchanged in 400 years, its road design (positioning and width)—a historical town taking you back to the Edo era.
Makabe Castle was first built in 1172, a designated national monument. The samurai family of Makabe first heralded with Makabe Nagamoto dating back to the Taira Clan. The rule of the Makabe family continued through the beginning of the 17th century, but in 1602, the Tokugawa Shogunate told them to relocate and they moved to Dewa.
Asano Nagamasa, once a top general of Oda Nobunaga moved to the region and became the Makabe Clan, continuing on with this son Nagashige. This father-son (Nagamasa-Nagashige) team is the one who created the Town of Makabe into what it looks like today approximately 400 years ago. The town brought in cotton from Osaka, Nara, and Okazaki, and from Aizu and Yonesawa merchants from the Tohoku region congregated here to trade in it. In the Meiji era, a yarn-making factory was built. The granite production also took off, adding the further development.
The construction of the town heralds intersections called masugata with two, right-angle turns, making it more difficult for invaders to come in. Take particular note of the architecture made from the Edo period through early Showa. Stone and earth warehouses are of particular interest. The town itself is filled with incredible variety, boasting 102 buildings that are registered as cultural artifacts. The entire area is considered a national Important Traditional Buildings Region.
We suggest walking the city to see its significance and especially suggest doing so with an old town map. You are sure to experience a special feeling as if you’re back in a 400-years ago Edo town. It’s as if you’re time traveling. Some of these registered cultural artifacts are shops still operating today. Here you will find souvenirs available only here, or delicious local foods.
To tour Makabe, we suggest you start from the Makabe Historical Center. It houses the historical resource center so if you stop here before heading into town you will have a deeper historical appreciation and understanding of the area, deepening your interest.