Hakodate and Big Fires/函館と大火

When you walk around at the foot of Mt. Hakodate, you may notice that the streets are set out in a grid pattern. It relates to the history of this city. It suffered so many big fires. Since 1868, big fires that burned more than a hundred houses have happened twenty eight times and the worst fires which burned more than a thousand houses happened a few times. The ferocious one occurred on 21st of March in 1934. It burned one third of the city and 24,186 houses caught fires and the death toll counted 2,166. It was so devastating that many people were disappointed and hopeless. But you see, the present Hakodate boasts being one of the most popular tourist destinations.

In the touristic sign boards in Motomachi area, you can find many descriptions "it caught fires", but it revived every time.

In Hakodate, there are many historical fire-proofed buildings in western district, where it have been the center of the city. Higashi-honganji Temple, for example, is the first concrete reinforced temple in Japan and churchhes around there were suffered fires a few times and reconstructed early 1900. You can see brick buildings and they were also built against fires.

Today countermeasures against fires function very well and we haven't experienced big fires since the worst fire in 1934.