TALK-3: Things born from Downtown Sapporo- People Gather around Tongu Again

At Tongu you can find Sapporo’s oldest "Komainu"(guardian lion-dogs). Tongu has the reputation of bringing blessings to match-making, and the number of young people who visit the shrine has been increasing. From this attractive little shrine, the driving force of town planning has been born.
Words by Mori Yuka
Photographs by Kurose Michio

Shibata Toshiharu/ Owner of Kotobuki Coffee Shop
Yamamoto Tadashi/ Pinto House, real estate department supervisor
Shintani Kazunari/ Head of the Sapporo Minami Ichi Jo Higashi Post Office
Kondo Yosuke/ Northerncross Co., Ltd.
Nakajima Shinobu/ Priest at Hokkaido Jingu Tongu (since 2015)

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Yamamoto: After Sapporo Shitamachi Marche, Mr. Nakajima said to me, “Why don't you create a place where people in the area can freely meet together?” As a result, I started the Tongu Meeting. Anyone who lives and works in Sosei Higashi is welcome to join. Every time there is a lecture or discussion, we hold an informal get-together at the place. I think this socializing has just as much meaning as sitting down and making decisions.

Shibata: We want to make the name of the area the theme. Instead of naming the subway station "Bus Center-mae", how about using a name that describes the area? In the days when streetcars were in operation, there used to be a station called "Tongu-mae". We would like to consider a name to which everyone would become attached.

Kondo: For a while, we had no idea how to handle the issues facing the area, including what to name the area. However, since we started to gain attention as a town “trying to start something”, we have reached the stage to specifically create an organization for the improvement of the area.

Shintani: The post office I work at depends on the area. We want to give something back to the area. I think we can become a cushion between the town planning organization and the area.

Shibata: Regarding our activity, those who have been here for a long time say "We wish you the best" and "Thank you". We would like to continue to share good memories with everyone.

Yamamoto: In Sosei Higashi, Tongu is a 10 minute walk from downtown. The shrine would be ideal as the central place to connect people.

Nakajima: We think an area where people can get to know each other and can call out to each other is the kind of town where we can live safely. We hope Tongu can be the reason to create such a community.

Sapporo-Shitamachi Dukuri Sha

The "Machi Dukuri"(community development) members who voluntarily gathered at Tongu decided to establish an association. As the “Sapporo-Shitamachi Dukuri Sha Incorporated Association”, they are pursuing long-term activities. First, they have launched a website where information can be sent and shared, and seek to promote exchange between local residents, centering on "Tongu".

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