Kurokabe Square (黒壁スクエア)

Kurokabe Square (also known as "Kurokabe" [black walls]), located in the old town area of Nagahama City in Shiga Prefecture, is a sightseeing spot where the traditional buildings are preserved effectively.
Kurokabe Square is the collective name for the black-plaster-wall Japanese-style buildings from 'Kurokabe 1st' to 'Kurokabe 3rd.'
It is generally introduced as the area centering on the intersection of Hokkoku-kaido Road and Otemon Street (Mino-tanigumi-kaido Road) where is known as 'Fudanotsuji,' whose name originated from the fact that the board called "kousatsu" was erected on the place for the official announcements during the Edo period.

The streets, lined with the attached Japanese-style buildings of the Edo and the Meiji periods, preserve the streetscape continuity and the atmosphere of the periods. There are restaurants, cafes, and cultural facilities, such as museums, galleries, and art glass studios utilizing the historic streetscape and the old buildings. This area is packed with such facilities. This area is also famous as the place where Japan's largest collection of glassworks are held. Approximately three million people visit this most popular sightseeing spot in Kohoku area annually.

History
Former Dai Hyakusanju Bank (the completion of construction was 1899), popularly known as 'Kurokabe Bank,' is at 'Fudanotsuji,' where is the center of the old town area. When the building was facing the threat of demolition, the third sector, 'Kurokabe,' a joint venture of Nagahama City and eight local private companies, was established in 1988, holding up the museum city concept to preserve and renovate the old buildings in the old town area.

The primary purpose of establishing the company, 'Kurokabe,' was to preserve and renovate the former Dai Hyakusanju Bank. The purpose was achieved when the building was opened as Kurokabe 1st, 'the Kurokabe Glass Shop,' in 1989.

The company renovated ten old buildings stood around the Kurokabe 1st into museums, glass shops, studios, galleries, cafes, and restaurants one after another. Including the other buildings which joined the 'Kurokabe town planning,' the company engaged in the renovation of a total of thirty old buildings. The Special Rapid train was extended to Nagahama station in 1991. This contributed to an increase in the number of tourists visiting the area and helped to promote the renovation and utilization of the other old buildings remained in the area.

The deserted shopping arcades and the old residential streets supported by 400-year tradition are now transformed into the largest sightseeing spot in the Kohoku area. As the place is famous for the successful example of town revitalization, there are always many visitors from everywhere in Japan.

Famous places and facilities
Kurokabe 1st
- Kurokabe Glass Shop (The Nagahama Branch of Former National Dai Hyakusanju Bank)
Kurokabe 2nd
- Studio Kurokabe (A glass-blowing studio)
Kurokabe 3rd
- Osteria VERITA (An Italian restaurant)
Kurokabe 4th
- Nabekama Honpo (A shop of Nabekama Manju [steamed bun with bean-jam filling])
Kurokabe 5th
-Fudanotsuji Honpo (A Japanese glass shop)
Kurokabe 6th
- Glass Gallery Manne (A glass gallery shop)
Kurokabe 7th
- Antique Nishikawa (An antiques and folk crafts shop)
Kurokabe 8th
- Yokaro (A restaurant serving the local cuisine of Kohoku [the north area of Lake Biwa])
Kurokabe 9th
- Nagahama Orgel Shop (A music box shop)
Kurokabe 10th
- Kurokabe Museum (A museum of glass arts)
Kurokabe 11th
- Stained Glass Shop (A stained glass shop and studio)
Kurokabe 12th
- Taiko Hyotan (A gourd shop)
Kurokabe 13th
- Sunrise KOKO (A tonbo-dama shop [Japanese glass beads shop])
Kurokabe 14th
- Cafe-Restaurant Yoya (Cafe and restaurant serving western-style meal)
Kurokabe 15th
- Natural Lifestyle Crv (A shop where sells glass products, such as toughened glass and heat-resistant glass)
Kurokabe 16th
- Bunpuku Chaya (A Japanese traditional sweets shop)
Kurokabe 17th
- Haus Rattenberg (A shop where sells glasswares decorated with engraving)
Kurokabe 18th
- Cafe P.ACT (A cafe)
Kurokabe 19th
- Morishima (An Omi Beef Restaurant)
Kurokabe 20th
- Cafe Kano Shojuan (A western- and Japanese-style confectionery shop)
Kurokabe 21st
- Gobelin Gallery, Rococo (A Gobelin tapestry gallery)
Kurokabe 22nd
- Soba Hachi (A restaurant serving soba noodles made by grinding buckwheat on a millstone)
Kurokabe 23rd
- Gion Steak House (A grilled meat restaurant)
Kurokabe 24th
- Hokkoku Gama (The Mizukuki-yaki [Mizukuki ware] ceramic art classes)
Kurokabe 25th
- Nayasu (A shop serving Gobelin-yaki [a sponge cake stuffed with fruit paste, custard cream, and red-bean paste, etc.])
Kurokabe 26th
- Antique Gallery London (A British antiques gallery)
Kurokabe 27th
- Ayu no Mise, Kimura (A sweetfish restaurant and shop)
Kurokabe 28th
- Komaki Kamaboko (A kamaboko [Fish Cake] shop)
Hikiyama Museum
The House of Ando at Hokkoku-kaido Road
The Yotsui Residence
Kaiyodo Figure Museum

Neighboring famous places and facilities

Daitsu-ji Temple (Nagahama City) (Also known as Nagahama Gobo)
Nagahama Gobo Omotesando-dori Street
Shana-in Temple
Nagahama Hachimangu Shrine
Hokoku Shrine (Nagahama City)
Kaichi School
Narita Museum (A museum where exhibits the collection of Rene LALIQUE's works)
Keiun-kan Guest House (The kaiyu style garden [a style of Japanese garden with a path around a central pond] by Jihei OGAWA is known as a scenic beauty in Japan)
Chizen-in Temple
The former Myokaku-in Kyugetsu-tei Garden

Transportation
Five minutes walk from Nagahama station on JR Biwako line.