Difference between revisions of "Toyosato-cho, Shiga"

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by [[Philbert Ono]]
by [[Philbert Ono]]
'''''Shiga's Anime Mecca'''''
'''Toyosato''' (豊郷町; -chō) is a town in eastern [[Shiga Prefecture]].
'''Toyosato''' (豊郷町; -chō) is a town in eastern [[Shiga Prefecture]].

Revision as of 02:56, 9 June 2019

Toyosato, Shiga (豊郷町; Toyosato-chō)
Toyosato Primary School Toyosato Primary School designed by William Vories. More Toyosato photos here.
Map of Shiga with Toyosato highlighted
[{{{GoogleMapLink}}} Google Map of Toyosato here.]
Location Shiga Prefecture, Kinki region, Honshu island, JAPAN  
Population 7,532 (96 foreigners) (2014-06-01)
Area 7.78 km²
Town Centers Toyosato Station 
Major Sights Itoh Chube'e Memorial House, Toyosato Primary School 
Major Gateways Toyosato Station 
Train Stations Ohmi Railways Toyosato Station 
Claim to Fame Toyosato Primary School (controversy over preservation or destruction)
Neighbors Hikone, Aisho-cho, Kora-cho 
Old Name(s)
Keywords Itoh-chu, Marubeni
Historical Persons Itoh Chube'e
Links Toyosato Articles | Toyosato Photos
Toyosato Tourist Information
Location Same as Town Hall
Phone 0749-35-8114 
Tourist Links  
Int'l Association  
Volunteer Guides Tel: 0749-35-8114  
Toyosato Town Hall 豊郷町役場
Address 〒529-1169滋賀県犬上郡豊郷町石畑375番地

Ishibatake 375, Toyosato-cho, Inukami-gun, Shiga-ken 529-1169 JAPAN

Phone/Fax 0749-35-8113 
Official Site Japanese | English  
Symbols Flower:  Azalea ツツジ
Tree:  Ubame oak ウバメガシ
Bird:  --
Logo:  T and S
Sister Towns --

This page is 75% complete. Last updated Aug. 12, 2016

by Philbert Ono

Shiga's Anime Mecca

Toyosato (豊郷町; -chō) is a town in eastern Shiga Prefecture.

With only 7.78 square km, Toyosato is Shiga's smallest town in area. It may be best known for the old Toyosato Primary School designed by William Merrell Vories in 1937. The town renovated the old building and opened it to the public in May 2009. A few of the rooms are in use as offices, pubic library, and children's play room. A few of the old classrooms have also been restored to their original state.

Anime fans have also begun visiting this old Toyosato Elementary School since it served as the model for the fictional high school in a late-night anime program called "K-ON!" (けいおん!) which started to air in April 2010. The town is trying to capitalize on this newfound fame by setting up a K-ON cafe and selling commemorative postage stamps with pictures of the school.

Toyosato also is the birthplace of Itoh Chube'e, an Omi shonin merchant and founder of ITOCHU Corporation, one of Japan's largest trading companies. His house is open to the public. Toyosato is also one place where the Goshu Ondo dance and song originated.


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Toyosato Primary School gate Toyosato Primary School Itoh Chube'e Memorial House
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Itoh Chube'e Memorial House Itoh Chube'e Monument Toyosato Station

  • Toyosato Elementary School 豊郷小学校 - Toyosato gained national attention when this old primary school building designed by William Merrell Vories was going to be torn down by the mayor in opposition to activists who wanted to preserve the building. The old building still remains while a new school has been built. The town did an excellent job in renovating the old building and opened the old school to visitors in May 2009. A few of the original 1930s-style classrooms have been restored and opened for public viewing. The school auditorium and former school library (now a gallery and event space) are also open for public viewing. There are also exhibition rooms, local Board of Education offices, public library, and tourist info counter. If you like Vories or architecture, visiting this school is highly recommended. Admission free. Within walking distance from Toyosato Station. Map
  • Itoh Chube'e Memorial House 伊藤忠兵衛記念館 - Itoh Chube'e (1842-1903) was the founder of Itochu Corporation (C. Itoh) and Marubeni, two of Japan's largest trading companies, in 1858. This house displays his former residence and some of his possessions. It is on the Nakasendo Road. A short walk from Toyosato Station, the house is open to the public on Tue., Thu., and Sat. Free admission. Website Map
  • Kurenai-en Park くれない園 - Small park with a monument dedicated to Itoh Chube'e. Built in 1935 and near the Itoh Chube'e Memorial House. Another monument dedicated to his brother Chobe'e (Chobei) is on the former site of Chobei's home, now a parking lot. Map
  • Senjuji temple 千樹寺 - One of the places purported to be where the Goshu Ondo 江州音頭, Shiga's bon dance originated. Fujino Shirobe’e (二代目藤野四郎兵衛), a prosperous Omi merchant in Toyosato, rebuilt Senjuji temple after it was destroyed in a fire. Shirobe’e wanted a new prayer song to dedicate the new temple in July 1846. Shirobe’e invited the renown Torakichi to Toyosato to compose a new prayer song. The song was performed and danced to at Senjuji temple. The villagers liked the song and danced to it at the temple. They used folding fans and umbrellas as props for the dance as they did for previous prayer songs. The new-style song came to be called “Goshu Ondo.” Senjuji temple has a stone monument for the Goshu Ondo. Map
  • Yutaka Kaikan 豊会館 - Local history museum in the former home of Fujino Kibe'e (Kibei) 藤野喜兵衛 who was an Omi merchant peddling dry goods all the way to Hokkaido where he expanded to fishing and became very successful. Open 9 am to 4 pm, closed Fri. Small admission charged. Map

Event Calendar

  • Aug. - Goshu Ondo bon dance at Senjuji temple (千樹寺).

Travel Tips

  • Most sights are within walking distance from the train station.
  • It is a very rural town, with no souvenir shops and hardly any restaurants.

Getting There

By Train

Toyosato has only one train station, Toyosato Station on the Ohmi Railways Line.

Train Lines & Stations

Travel Time

Nearest Airports

Getting Around

If you need a taxi, call for one at the train station.


Click on upper right icon to enlarge.


ty079-20091009_4752.jpg ty092-20091009_4788.jpg
Hare and tortoise Toyosato Elementary School classroom

More photos at Toyosato Photos. More Shiga photos here.


Side Trips

Other sights in neighboring cities/towns within easy reach from Toyosato.

  • Hikone


  • 1858 - At age 15, Itoh Chube'e (Chubei) founds Itoh Chube'e Shoten, now ITOCHU Corporation, dealing with textiles.
  • 1898 - Toyosato Station opens.
  • 1937 - Toyosato Primary School's classroom building and auditorium, designed by William Merrell Vories, are completed. Cost is donated by a director of Itoh Chubee Shoten, forerunner of Itoh-chu Corp.
  • 1971 - Toyosato-mura village becomes Toyosato-cho town.
  • 1999 - Toyosato mayor Ohno Wasaburo 大野和三郎 becomes mayor and announces his plan to demolish Toyosato Primary School and build a new school, citing the old building's earthquake vulnerability.
  • 2002 - Citizens against the demolition of Toyosato Primary School succeed in obtaining a court order to stop the demolition. The mayor still proceeded to destroy part of the school, but soon faced protesters who camped out inside the school buildings. The mayor relented and the old school was saved.
  • 2003 - A recall election for mayor was held, and Ohno Wasaburo is reelected. A new school is built while the old building is preserved.
  • 2009 - The old Toyosato Primary School designed by William Vories is renovated and opened to the public in May.
  • 2010 - Late-night anime program "K-ON!" (けいおん!) starts to air in April.

Additional Reading

More Toyosato News here.



  • The local Toyosato Hospital was established in 1925 with funds donated by Itoh Chobe'e (七代目伊藤長兵衛), Chube'e's older brother and co-founder of Marubeni Corporation.

Famous People

Itoh Chube'e 伊藤忠兵衛 (1842-1903)
Omi shonin merchant and founder of Itochu Corporation (C. Itoh) and Marubeni, two of Japan's largest trading companies, in 1858. At age 15, he started out peddling his linen goods on foot from Shiga, traveling west to Wakayama and Osaka. He soon set up shop in Osaka. He even had a shop in San Francisco, California. His second son Seiichi, also born in Toyosato, set up the C. Itoh company in 1918 and started importing textiles from England where he had studied abroad.

Related Articles

External Links

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