Hiyoriyama Park is a historic park in the port town of Sakata. The park is a popular scenic location for cherry blossom viewing and offers dazzling views of the sunset over the Sea of Japan.
The chalk-white hexagonal lighthouse, one of Japan’s oldest wooden lighthouses, is a popular symbol of Hiyoriyama Park. The lighthouse was founded in 1813 to guide Kitamaebune cargo vessels at night and was a focus for prayers for safe journeys by the boatmen and shipping agents who regularly came to the port of Sakata.
The other well-known feature of the park is a Kitamaebune boat with a beautiful white sail. The half-scale model ship is the largest in Japan. Kitamaebune boats were also known as Sengokubune (1,000-koku vessels) because they had space for 1,000 koku (150 tons) of rice. The largest Kitamaebune with only one square sail could carry 2,400 koku (360 tons) of cargo.
The Kitamaebune ships also carried out extensive trade at ports along the route. It is said that a return journey between Osaka and Hokkaido could bring a profit of 1,000 ryo (Japan’s pre-Meiji gold currency). Today the model ship informs visitors about the history of the period and the boatmen’s dreams of making their fortune.
The park has a lovely strolling path with 29 monuments introducing writers and artists who visited Sakata. Enjoy learning about the history of this port town while taking a pleasant walk!