During New Year’s vacation, I visited Gokasho again. My second time. This time, I took many pictures with my digital camera. The pretty Hinamatsuri dolls were also displayed. I now have 170 pictures of Gokasho online:
I got off at Gokasho Station on Ohmi Railways. It is an easy walk to the first Omi merchant home called Fujii Hikoshiro residence 藤井 彦四郎邸. Then I walked to the Omi Merchant Museum 近江商人博物館, then to the cluster of three Omi merchant homes 近江商人屋敷.
It was very easy to find everything because there are clear signs on the roads from the train station. Maps are also available at all the museums and homes. Very good tourist information and signs.
For the Omi merchants, the most famous saying is the “Sanpo-yoshi” 三方よし (売り手よし、買い手よし、世間よしの)principle. I think it’s a universal principle and I always followed it long before I found out about Omi shonin. (Hmm, maybe I was an Omi shonin during a previous life.)
I’m still thinking about the best English translation for this Sanpo-yoshi. Something like “Good for me, good for you, and good for all.”
I’ll let you know if and when I think of a good translation.
At the end of the day, I also went to the Iki-iki-kan 生き活き館 tourist info office. There is also a souvenir shop where you can buy many goodies made in Gokasho. I spoke with a kind old lady there who told me about growing vegetables and making cookies and senbei. Well, I bought hakusai cabbage, goma cookies and senbei. Very good! From there, I took a bus to Notogawa Station.
If you don’t have a car, it might be better to start touring Gokasho by taking a bus at Notogawa Station and starting at Iki-iki-kan since the tourist info office is there. Gokasho Station has a map in front of the station, but no tourist info office.