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History

History

History of Toyohashi

Yoshida CastleFrom remains found at Suse no Jaana Cave, the Urigo Ruins and traces of towns and roads etc., it is understood that people (known as the "Ancient People of Ushikawa") lived in this region 100,000 years ago.

This region was called Honokuni ("Land of Rice") and was integrated as part of the Mikawa Country around the time of the Taika Reforms in 646. Many shrines were established from the Heian Era (794 - 1185) onwards, thanks to close relations with the Ise Shrine. Around the same period, the Shikasuga and Akumi ferry routes, sung about in Japanese poetry, were opened. In the Kamakura Era (1185 - 1333), the Imahashi bridge was built.

In 1505, Kohaku Makino built Imahashi Castle, and Toyohashi became a key town in the Higashi Mikawa region. Also, it was the site of numerous offensive and defensive battles, during which the castle was renamed Yoshida Castle. In 1590, Terumasa Ikeda became lord of the castle, and the castle was expanded to suit its yield of 150,000 koku (1 koku = 180 liters) of rice, while Toyohashi also developed as a castle town.

During the Edo Era (1603 - 1868), Toyohashi became a key town on the Tokaido (Eastern Sea Road) from Tokyo (then Edo) to Kyoto.Yoshida Castle saw a succession of Daimyo (lords) extending over 9 families and 22 generations. From the middle of the Edo Era onwards, under the rule of Izunokami Matsudaira, Toyohashi flourished as a castle town yielding 70,000 koku of rice, and as one of the 53 officially regulated post-station towns along the Tokaido. At the same time, Yoshida port in the Toyokawa estuary was widely used for waterway transportation, with shipping to all regions, including Edo and the Ise Bay coastline.

In 1869, the Yoshida Han (feudal domain) became Toyohashi Han, and when the feudal domain system was abolished and a centralized prefectural (ken) system established in its place in 1871, the han was merged to form Nukata Prefecture. In the following year, the town came under the jurisdiction of Aichi Prefecture. In 1889, under the City-Town-Village system, Toyohashi was designated a Town rather than a City, but as of August 1st 1906, it was the second largest city in the prefecture (62nd across the whole country).

In September 1918, 5 neighboring towns and villages merged with Toyohashi for a total population exceeding 140,000 people. The city became famous throughout Japan for its silk production and as a military seat. In June 1945, most of the city was burned down in an air attack. However, after the war, thanks to the remarkable efforts of Toyohashi citizens and to innovative urban reconstruction plans for the rezoning of land, a city was created that surpassed its pre-war predecessor.

In March 1955, a further 5 neighboring towns and villages merged with the city, followed by 2 more in April of the same year, further expanding the city limits. Following this, the city strengthened its industrial base, with the completion of the Toyogawa Waterway and the opening of Toyohashi Port etc. Education and culture were fostered, welfare systems enhanced, and the living environment steadily improved. In April 1999, it was designated a Core City by government ordinance.

The current population of Toyohashi is more than 380,000, and the city continues to prosper as the central city of the Higashi Mikawa region and as a core city of the Sanen Nanshin region.