Former Hanada Family Banya - Hokkaido

The Former Hanada Family Banya (旧花田家番屋) is the largest existing banya in the prefecture and is also one of Obira's key tourist spots. It is located at 35-2 Onishikahirotomi, Obira in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan.

Former Hanada Family Banya

Former Hanada Family Banya details

A banya is a structure used as a fishery base and also as a residence and office for its owners. The exact date when the Former Hanada Family Banya was built is still up in a debate. According the story of the late owner Mr. Sakuzo Hanada, he recalled that he bought the forest where he cut the lumber used to build the banya in 1897. 

Former Hanada Family Banya - Obira, Hokkaido

However, when the banya was restored in 1971, an ink book containing information about the banya and a newspaper dating from 1883 was discovered behind the wallpaper of the internal structure of the master's quarters.

旧花田家番屋

Kukiru Herring - Hanada Family Banya
Kukiru Herring Statue

Regardless of when it was built, during the heyday of the Hanada Family Banya, it housed more than 200 employees and also served as the Hanada family residence. This massive two-story structure has a total floor area of about 910 square meters. 

Important Cultural Property Former Hanada House Banya

Its architectural style was said to be an imitation of European architecture which was popular during those times. However, the interior of the lodge was left bare and its pillars and beams were intentionally left exposed which was the Japanese style of wooden architecture seen in Todaiji and Kiyomizudera. The exposed pillars are thought to display the strength of the structure.

Bronze plaque about the history of the Former Hanada Family Banya

The Former Hanada Family Banya was designated as an Important Cultural Property in 1971. At present, it not only serve as a historical landmark but also doubles as a museum. 

Herring Fishing Displays inside the Former Hanada Family Banya

The floor map of the building



Glass fishing floats

Herring Fishing Displays inside the Former Hanada Family Banya
Wooden barrels with large rocks to press the fish and get its oil

Large metallic cauldron used for cooking the herring

Former Hanada Family Banya
Shimekasu

Replica of a fishing boat

Cooking area of the Former Hanada Family Banya

Miniature replicas of the fishing boats used by herring fishermen



Some of the tools used by those living in the banya


The first floor is mostly open to the public but visitors can't enter some rooms like the Cashbox Room, Altar Room, Booking Room, and the farthest guest room. However, you can view these rooms from the designated walkways and viewing areas.

The second floor on the other hand is not accessible to the public unless opened for special occasions and events.

Hanada Family Quarters Area 

Hanada Family Living Quarters


The garden area of the banya

One of the living quarters inside the banya

Some of the preserved items in the banya

Check out this cabinet leg wood carving 

Former Hanada Family Banya toilet

Living quarters walkway

Former Hanada Family Banya wall carvings

Former Hanada Family Banya kitchen

Former Hanada Family Banya Cashbox Room

Former Hanada Family Banya Booking Room

Former Hanada Family Banya Altar Room

My family and I got to visit the Former Hanada Family Banya during our Obira Road Trip with Teacher Kanda last July 24, 2022, which was my 38th weekend here in Japan as an ALT under the JET Program. Although I pass by this structure every time I visit schools, it was only during this trip that I got to visit the place for the first time. 



My family and I learned a lot about the herring industry during our visit and it was all thanks to Teacher Kanda who patiently explained to us the different displays in the museum. 

Overall, I highly recommend that you visit the Former Hanada Family Banya especially if you're driving your own vehicle as it is just beside the Obira Roadside Station "Nishin-banya". Which makes it a perfect side trip destination.

Former Hanada Family Banya Admission Fee

Adults must pay 400 yen while students under 15 pay 150 yen to enter the Former Hanada Family Banya.

Former Hanada Family Banya Operating Hours

The Former Hanada Family Banya is open Tuesdays-Sundays from 9AM to 5PM
It is closed on Mondays. It might also be temporarily closed during winter.

Why visit the Former Hanada Family Banya?

If you are a history buff or if you want to know more about the history of the Herring Fishing Era of Rumoi Subprefecture then you should include this place in your itinerary. You will learn a thing or two about the Golden Age of Hering Fishing in western Hokkaido, particularly in Obira.


Getting to Former Hanada Family Banya


From Rumoi JR Station, ride the Engan bus heading for Haboro or Toyotomi. Board down at Hanada Banya Mae bus stop. 

Fare from Rumoi Station: 660 yen
Travel time: 30 minutes

Ratings:

Crowd

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Overall rating 


Comments

  1. That's a beautifully preserved building. Thank you for sharing great pictures as always.

    ReplyDelete

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