Hakodate Port opened in 1859 as one of the first international trading ports of Japan, along with Yokohama and Nagasaki. Flourishing as a Port, the city has seen countless people and cultures come and go. Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse, the first commercial warehouse in Hakodate, has witnessed the history of the city through its warehousing business. As one of the symbols of the Hakodate bay area that still reminds us much of the early days of the shipping industry, Kanemori Red Brick Warehouse will continue to witness the history of Hakodate forever and offer every visitor a beautiful, unforgettable time.
Kumashiro Watanabe,who founded the first warehouse business in Hakodate,came to Hakodate from Nagasaki in 1863 when he was twenty-four years old.In 1869, he founded the former Kanemori Haberdasher's Shop,which now houses the Municipal History Museum,and the former Kanemori Ship Chandlery Shop,which sold imported products and ship chandlery. He also engaged in many other businesses,contributing enormously to the foundation of Hakodate's prosperity. Kumashiro Watanabe was known as one of the four heavenly kings of Hakodate. His contributions were particularly great in public welfare and culture.He donated funds to establish schools, hospitals, parks, and a water utility, as well as donating to many other public works. Kumashiro Watanabe started his warehouse business in Hakodate in 1887. The present warehouse buildings were rebuilt in 1909. If you would like to know more, please visit the Exhibition Hall of the Hakodate History Plaza.