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The former Hokkaidō government office building(Aug. 2005)
The Former Hokkaidō Government Office Building
Hokkaidōchō kyūhonchōsha) is an American-neo-baroque structure
constructed in 1888 as a base of the Hokkaidō administration. The nickname is
Akarenga or "Red Brick." It is the symbol of Hokkaidō and
was designated a Japanese Important Cultural
Property in 1969.
Behind the current Hokkaidō Government building, the building is
located in North 3 West 6, Chūō-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaidō, Japan.
Currently, the facilities inside the building include a
conference room, a museum shop, a tourist information office, and a
few historical exhibition rooms and libraries. Visitors can enter
the building for free. Flower gardens and a pond are located in
front of the building, which occasionally are designated as some
The restored Hokkaidō Development Commission (Kaitakushi) Sapporo
Main Office, which is currently located in the Historical Village
In 1869, the Kaitakushi, the development commission and
government of Hokkaidō prefecture, was established to pioneer the
primitive ground of Hokkaidō, and its main office was moved to
Sapporo in 1871. An American advisor to the Development Commission,
planned to construct the building for the Kaitakushi office with an
octagonal dome topping on the building, which was popular
architectural style in the United States at that time. The building,
named as the Hokkaidō Development Commission Sapporo Main Office
Kaitakushi Sapporo Honchōsha), was built in 1873, then which was
one of the largest buildings in Japan.
It was destroyed by the fire in 1879.
After the abolition of the Kaitakushi in 1882, Hokkaidō was
divided into a number of prefectures, and later the Hokkaidō
Government was officially established in 1886. The destroyed
building was restored, and the new government office building was
inaugurated in 1888, with red bricks and the octagonal dome on top of the building as the
first governor, Michitoshi Iwamura, has suggested.
In 1896, air vents and the octagonal dome on the top were taken
away. The fire destroyed the building again in 1909, and the inside
was burnt down, while the walls of the building with red bricks
sustained little damage. In 1910, the restoration work of the
building began, and completed in 1911.
Government of Hokkaidō prefecture commemorated 100th anniversary
in 1968, and original air vents and the octagonal dome were
restored and installed to the building again to commemorate the
anniversary, and government determined to continue preserving the
building permanently. The following year, the building was listed
as one of the National Important Cultural Property.
In 1985, the Archives of Hokkaidō was housed in the building. The
Karafuto/Sakhalin Related Resource Library was also placed in the
building in 2004, which has previously been located in the Hokkaidō
government office annex in West 18 since 1992.
Asian Peace Messages of 1996 Hokkaidō Program in front of the
building: "Peace is the bridge between countries"
The brick facade attracts tourists and artists.
The measurement of the building is 61 metres in frontage, 36
metres in depth, and 33 metres in height to the top of the
The red bricks used in the wall of the building were made in
Toyohira and Shiroishi villages, which are currently wards of
Sapporo as Toyohira-ku and Shiroishi-ku in each, and the number of
the bricks in the walls is around 2.5 million.
There are 20 paintings inside of the building, which depict
historically important scenes in the history of Hokkaidō. Most of
the windows are double paned, which were to prevent the freezing
climate of Sapporo.
It houses several facilities. The Archives of Hokkaidō houses a
number of historical materials related to Hokkaidō, and annex
building of the archives is currently located in West 5, which is
close to the Former office building and previously functioned as
the Library of Hokkaidō (the library was moved and currently
located in Ebetsu) . The Gallery of Hokkaidō's
History was designed to display panels and historical instruments
used in farms and cultivation, and is a branch exhibition room of
the Historical Museum of Hokkaidō. The Karafuto/Sakhalin Related
Resource Library showcases materials related to Karafuto, which was used to be the
northernmost area of Japan and has been part of Russia as Sakhalin Oblast after World War II.
The tourism information center was placed on the second floor,
which provides some brochures written in some languages. The
three-section arch, which is decorated with engravings in the
western architecture, is installed in the entrance hall. The
Governor's former office room is open to the public, and it
displays restored room facilities as well as pictures of the
successive governors in Hokkaidō. Other rooms are occasionally
designated as conference rooms, and many companies and
organizations have used these rooms for their meetings.
- ^ a
The brochure of the Former Hokkaidō government office building,
English version, Hokkaido Government.
The brochure of the Karafuto/Sakhalin Related Resource Library
Coordinates: 43°03′50″N 141°20′52″E / 43.063968°N