Momosuke Bridge and Modernization Heritage
からYama no Rekishikan History Museum
History of the Building
This building was constructed on the former Tsumago Post Town Honjin site as the Tsumago Local Office of Nagoya Branch Bureau of Imperial Estates on February 7, 1900. It held jurisdiction over the entire Nagiso region including Oga, Yomikaki, Azuma, Tadachi, and Yubunezawa. The building was in use until 1933 when it was deemed too old for official use, and the government office was transferred close to Azuma Bridge. The old building was sold to a private owner and used as a residence until 1986. The reconstruction of a National Road junction forced the building's deconstruction and removal. At that time, it was donated to Nagiso Town who placed it in storage. In 1990, the building was restored at its current location and was named the “Yama no Rekishikan” as a part of the Tenpaku Koen Development Project (a special project for regional development).
Admission Fees (combined admission with theMomosuke Fukuzawa Memorial Museum): Adult - ¥500, Middle School Students - ¥250, Elementary School Students and Younger - Free. Closed on Wed and Dec. 1 to mid-Mar.
Characteristics of the Building
The building had gone through only a few reformations when it was transferred in 1933. It has been kept in a very good condition, both inside and outside. Most of the building's features, such as its sash windows, are the original pieces. It is not heavily decorated but stands as a beautiful and high-quality structure. The solid design is apparent throughout the building in aspects such as the composite construction of the pillar capitals of the door facing the driveway and the pediments over the windows.
Nagano Prefecture does not have many Meiji Period buildings; There are only 13 buildings listed by the Architectural Institute of Japan published in 1970. For this reason, the building is recognized as one of Nagano's important cultural properties.
Overview of Kiso Mountains
This exhibit summarizes the history of Kiso Mountains and displays kure (wood boards) and doi (wooden foundations for pillars) that were paid as a contribution to wood taxes in the Edo Period.
Forest Reform Policy in the Edo Period
This exhibit explains the strict policy on the protection of forest resources in the Owari Domain, also known as “a head for a tree”. It displays documents related to Kiso’s unique wood tax system and the establishment of Tomeyama (managed forests) which banned any harvesting of timber and barred access by residents.
Licensed Luggage and Traditional Crafts
An exhibition of historical resources related to hinoki cypress hats from Araragi, a traditional craft since the Edo Period. Also displayed are documents related to licensed luggage policies that supported the status of hinoki cypress hats as a traditional craft as well as those related to woodworker’s lathes.
Falconer and Falcon Breeding
Information on falconry, a hobby of the Edo-Period shoguns and people's hardships that were caused by this hobby.
Wood Harvesting and Transport
An exhibition of historical resources regarding timber and the production processes, from felling trees to transportation using forest railways and roads. There is an outdoor display of a locomotive that ran on the forest railway.
Front gate of the former office of the Bureau of Imperial Estates
An exhibition of the foundations that were used for the front gates of the former Tsumago Local Office building of the Bureau of Imperial Estates constructed in 1900.
An exhibition of historical resources related to an incident in which the residents demanded a lift of the ban on the sale of state forests to the public. The leader of this incident was Hirosuke Shimazaki, elder brother of the novelist, Toson Shimazaki, and the head of Tsumago Honjin.
からMomosuke Fukuzawa Memorial Museum
|Momosuke Fukuzawa, also known as the “King of Electricity”, was the first person to focus on the potential of the Kiso River as a power source. He built a villa in a beautiful area of Kiso in 1919 from which he commuted to the power plant construction sites in Yomikaki and Oi.|
Sadayakko Kawakami, said to be Japan’s first actress, was his partner and supported him during this time. They stayed together at this villa until the completion of the Oigawa Power Station in 1924. The couple hosted lavish parties, inviting key political and business key in addition to foreign technicians. Deep in the mountains, this villa carried a European elegance that was different to everything else around it.
The villa was unaffected by the “Isegoya River Landslide Disaster” on July 20, 1953 but lost a part of its second floor to fire on April 6, 1935.
It was opened to the public in 1985 as a one-story building. In 1997, the second floor was restored, and the Villa regained its original two-story appearance. This precious Western-style villa from the Taisho Period will take you to back to the Taisho Romanesque Period of Momosuke and Sadayakko. The couple’s photos, personal artifacts, and documents are also on display.
■ Open: Mid-Mar. to the end of Nov., 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
■ Closed on Wed and during the winter season (Dec. 1 to mid-Mar.)
■ Admission (shared admission with the Yama no Rekishikan): Adult – ¥500, JHS students – ¥250, ES students and younger – Free.
■ TEL: 0264-57-4166
Momosuke Fukuzawa was born on June 25, 1968 in Yoshimi, Saitama. His family moved to Kawagoe City, Saitama when he was young. Momosuke entered Keio Gijuku (current Keio University) founded by Yukichi Fukuzawa, who acknowledged his talent and adopted him. Momosuke then went on to study in the U.S. He became a successful businessman in Nagoya from 1907 and launched numerous projects. Momosuke became involved in the electric power industry in 1908 and devoted himself in developing hydroelectric power generation on the Kiso River. He opened the Shizumo Power Station in 1919 reaching his zenith in 1923 when he completed Yomikaki Power Station. Also, known as the “King of Electricity”, he made significant contributions to Japan's industrial modernization. He died on February 15, 1938 at the age of 69.
Sadayakko Kawakami was born in Tokyo and became a very popular geisha among politicians in the Meiji Period. She married Otojiro Kawakami in 1890 and devoted herself to the development of modern drama in Japan. She is known as the first actress in Japan.
Momosuke built many power plants on the Kiso River system but began by building a villa in the scenic location of Midono to establish his base for the construction projects. Even after the construction projects were finished, he often used villa as a summer retreat for long stays accompanied by his partner Sadayakko. There was a crowd of people every time Sadayakko appeared at Midono Station (current Nagiso Station) eager to grab even a glimpse this renowned actress.
It seems that the romance between the “King of Electricity”, Momosuke, and the famous actress, Sadayakko, was the talk of the town.
からField of mitsuba-tsutsuji azalea
An azalea garden filled by mitsuba-tsutsuji azalea (a natural monument). The blooming season is in mid-April. There are about 400 azalea shrubs in the garden. Among them, Nagiso mitsuba-tsutsuji azalea, as the name implies, is a rare kind only seen around this town. The garden is located on a hill in the park and visitors can enjoy an outstanding views of the Momosuke Bridge and Mt. Kisokomagatake.
The Esugata Sotai Dosojin (travelers' roadside guardian deities) is also nearby.
Azalea blossoms updates are available in the 'Travel News' section as the blooming season approaches.
Please refer to the “Seasonal Attractions” page where we introduce the flowers that can be seen in Nagiso town, including mitsuba-tsutsuji.
This concrete aqueduct was built across Kakizore River, and is a leading waterway to the Yomikaki Power Station. The total length is 142.4 m. The Central section is a double arch bridge, and both ends are girder bridges. It is one of the largest existing aqueduct bridges built before the war.
This power station was built between November 1921 and December 1922 by Daido Electric Power Company, as a waterway style power plant with a maximum output of 40,700 kW. During that time, the president of Daido Electric Power, Momosuke Fukuzawa, built numerous power plants along the Kiso River based on his “one river - one company” policy. The completion of the Yomikaki Power Station was a monumental event in the history of Japan’s waterway-style power plants.
Constructed from reinforced concrete with brick walls and roof structure. The main building with a large, spacious room is connected to a two-story northern annex building. The building is decorated in a modern design, as seen in the structure of the semicircular windows and the skylight windows in the roof.
Water tank and steel penstocks
The concrete tank retains the original design at its front and sides. Three original steel penstocks remain, which are 2.9 m in diameter and 290-meter long.
Water tank and steel penstocks
A monument commemorating the power station's construction process. It is located near the main building and included in the designated property.
The largest wooden bridge of its class in Japan
|The Momosuke Bridge, also known as the “Bridge of Peaches”, was completed in September 1922. It was built by the Daido Power Co. led by President Momosuke Fukuzawa, a man devoted to hydroelectric development. The bridge was for the transportation of construction materials for the Yomikaki Power Plant (completed in 1923).|
It has served as a key village road (current town road), allowing transportation between the communities on each bank as well the daily commute of school children. It was, however, almost demolished due to aging and a lack of repairs. Supported by many people who requested its preservation and reuse, this longest suspension bridge in Taisho-era was restored and designated as a modernization heritage site (Nagiso cultural heritage) alongside the maintenance of the surrounding Tenpaku Park.
The Momosuke Bridge is 247 m in length and 2.7 m wide. It crosses over the widest part of the river and contributes to the beautiful and majestic scenery.
It is one of the longest suspension bridges with wooden stiffening bridges in Japan. A rare four-span suspension bridge with masonry at the bottom and three upper concrete towers, the bridge represents the sophistication of Japan’s civil engineering technology.
Its three main towers have fantastic designs, especially the center tower that has stone steps leading down to the water. Also, each main tower has hanging suspensions, similar to the hanging bridges built during the 19th century in the United States. There is a restored section of trolley rail in the middle of the bridge that was used for transporting materials.
Momosuke Bridge details
||The two sections of the central span cover 104.442 m, and 104.496 m|
Left bank side spans 23.950 m. Right bank side spans 14.874 m
|Auxiliary steel truss height
|Main tower height
||Reinforced steel concrete, 13.300 m|
Mixed stone footing (Central) 14.326 m
|Nagiso Town Tourism Association|
3668-1 Yomikaki, Nagiso, Kiso-gun, Nagano, 399-5301 Japan
(Office: in Nagiso Town Hall)
Phone: 0264-57-2001 Fax: 0264-57-2270
|Copyright1997 Nagiso Town. No reproduction or republication without written permission|