Western Japanese castle town returns to old atmosphere after removing poles

TAMBA SASAYAMA, Hyogo – A castle town in western Japan has regained its old atmosphere after the completion of a “pole-less” project that buried underground lines.

The works were carried out on a section of about 600 meters of the area of ​​the town of Tamba Sasayama Castle. The district is lined with charming merchant houses from the Edo period (1603-1867).

The area is called the Kawaramachi Tsumairi Merchant Houses and was developed during the Edo period with the construction of Sasayama Castle. “Tsumairi” refers to a building whose main entrance is on the gable side. As the gateway to Kyoto, where the emperor resided at the time, Kawaramachi flourished as a trading center in Taki County (now Tamba Sasayama) until the beginning of the Meiji era (1868 -1912).

Kawaramachi before work to make it without a pole is seen. (Photo courtesy of Tamba Sasayama Municipal Government)

Over the past decade, hotels and general merchandise stores have been built one after another using the old buildings, and the beautiful old cityscape is getting attention.

The electricity pole elimination project came in response to the selection of the city as a model district for the renewal of its urban landscape by the Ministry of Lands, Infrastructures, Transport and Tourism in 2017. The community had long wished have no electric poles in the area.

During construction, which began in September 2018, the city installed underground conduits through which power and telephone companies ran lines that were previously above ground. In March 2021, 39 poles were removed and the work was completed.

With no more lines hiding the sky above, the street looks crisp and even wider. The unique cityscape of this region, with its gabled roofs, has retained its beauty with all the blue sky as a backdrop.

In the future, the municipal government of Tamba Sasayama plans to attract more tourists to the region and strengthen its appeal as a location for filming and television programs.

(Japanese original by Yoshiko Yukinaga, Local Tamba Office)

About Lucille Thompson

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