The Nagaoka Festival Grand Fireworks Show Official Guide Book Nagaoka Hanabi
17 18History and CultureCity Hall Plaza ?Aore NagaokaReleasing MemorialLanternsfor the Air Raid VictimsThe Shinano River The Crashing ofBulls’ HornsThe Flame-Shaped Pot Tsuginosuke KawaiOur ProminentPredecessorThe City of Nagaoka, with a populationof approximately 270,000 people, isthe second largest city in NiigataPrefecture. With Japan’s longest river,the Shinano, flowing through the centerof the city, Nagaoka is rich in thenatural beauty of the four seasons.The green Higashiyama Hills aresituated in the east and the Sea ofJapan spreads out to the west.On August 1st, 1945, B29 bombers droppedincendiary bombs over Nagaoka,which destroyed nearly 80% of thedowntown area and claimed a confirmed1,486 lives, according to current research.The great Shinano River flows throughthe prefectures of Niigata and Nagano,and has a large basin area, which isthe third largest in Japan, only behindthe Tone River and the Ishikari River.The Shinano is approximately 900 meterswide as it flows under the ChoseiBridge with the gentle slopes of itsriverbanks forming a vast river bed.This event known as “crashing of bulls’horns” or bullfighting has a 1,000-yearoldhistory. This tradition of bullfightinghas been handed down throughthe generations thanks to the closerelationships between the bulls andtheir owners. In the old days, bullswere valuable resources used fortransportation and farming.A large-scale ancient community isbelieved to have been established inthe Umataka area in the mid-Jomonperiod and in the Sanju-Inaba area inthe late-Jomon period. The famous“Flame-Shaped Pot” was unearthedat the Umataka Historic Site, one ofthe largest ancient communities inNiigata Prefecture. The site wasdesignated as a national historic sitein 1979.Strictly loyal to the TokugawaShogunate Government, TsuginosukeKawai fought in vain against theNew Government Forces during theBoshin Civil War that took place atthe end of the Edo period. Advocatingneutralism upon the outbreak of the war,the chief retainer of the Nagaoka feudaldomain asked the New GovernmentForces for their understanding andnegotiated with the leader of theforces. However, Kawai perishedduring the Boshin Civil War.With a history dating back to the Jomon period, many varieties of flame-type ancient pottery (named due to their unique patterns of flames)have been unearthed in Nagaoka. The city is full of interesting historic sites and facilities such as the Niigata Prefectural Museum of Historyand several other museums that house various materials related to our great predecessors.