The former prefecture of Hokkaido 北海道庁旧本庁舎
An outpost in the cold
The island of Hokkaido, initially populated for several millennia by the Ainous alone, became a land of Japanese colonization from the 16th century. However, the Japanese did not formally establish their sovereignty there until the beginning of the Meiji era. The former prefecture of Hokkaido was born at this time. This large red brick construction symbolizes the irruption of modernity on the island.
The red prefecture
The former Hokkaidō Prefecture Building opened in Sapporo in 1888, two years after the merger of the three prefectures of Hakodate, Sapporo and Nemuro. It housed the local executive for nearly 80 years. The construction is particularly notable for its American neo-baroque style , which was very fashionable at the time, with the seat of the federal government of Massachusetts as a model. Nicknamed " akarenga " (red bricks) by the local inhabitants , it required nearly 2.5 million bricks made in Hokkaido to be made. With its 33 meters high and 61 meters wide, it was at the time of its inauguration one of the largest buildings in Japan.
Read also : The Meiji era
The interior of the building breathes the XIX th century. The French-style brick exterior, topped by a slate tiled roof, is combined with an interior where a world of fake chimneys, old pillars and paintings unfolds from an entrance with three decorative arches. depicting scenes from the history of Hokkaido .
Memory of Hokkaido
After the relocation of the prefecture of Hokkaido, the building became the receptacle of the memory of the island. Designated in the late 1960s as an important national cultural property , it has housed the Hokkaido Archives since 1985 and the Sakhalin/Karafuto resource library since 2004. The Northern Territories Museum and an exhibition hall on Hokkaido's international exchanges have also been set up there.
Entrance to the building is free. The visitor will be able to walk between the different exhibitions and benefit from the explanations that the staff of volunteers lavishes in the middle of the museums.
Read also: The Hokkaido Museum
An eye on the Jomon era
The prefecture of Hokkaido, in collaboration with the prefectures of Aomori, Akita and Iwate, has for several years the objective of obtaining the inscription of the Jômon sites in the world heritage. It is in this idea that an exhibition of artifacts from this Japanese Stone Age is open to the public on the second floor.
A must in Sapporo!
Address, timetable & access
Timetable10 minutes on foot from JR Sapporo station (JR and subway lines)
AccessOpen from 8:45 a.m. to 6 p.m. Closed from December 29 to January 3