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Soka City


Update : 2017-1-19

The area now known as Soka was originally an expansive swampland crisscrossed by numerous waterways and is estimated to have been first populated in the Kofun Period (250-552A.D.). The first historical documentation dates back to 1221 in the Kamakura Period (1185-1333) when the Hojo regents gifted the Yako-go area to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura for use as a manor.The area began to change in 1603 when the Edo Period began under the rule of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Rice growing was sanctioned and the marshlands were transformed to productive rice fields which in turn led to the establishment of numerous hamlets.

One of the other contributors to Soka’s birth was a change in the route to northern Japan. At the start of the Edo Period the post towns of Senju and Koshigaya were already established on the road north out of Edo but the road between them took a wide detour along the Nakagawa River which runs along the eastern edge of present day Soka. It is said that in 1606, Zusho Okawa, in consultation with the inhabitants of other hamlets in the area, began the construction of a direct road between Senju and Koshigaya and that this led to Soka being designated a post town 24 years later.

It was in September of 1630 that Soka received official Bakufu designation as a Post Town. Soka then flourished because of the increase in pilgrimages to Nikko and the practice of having daimyo Lords alternate their residences between Edo and their respective provinces. In addition, transport hubs on the Ayase and Nakagawa rivers to transport agricultural produce to Edo led to Soka becoming the center of local economic and cultural activities.In 1689 the haiku poet Matsuo Basho passed through and made special mention of Soka in his travel diary "Okuno-hosomichi" (Journey to the Far Provinces).The 1889 national reorganization, which formed the basis of today’s local government system, led to the establishment of Soka Town and 5 surrounding villages.

In 1899 the Tobu Railway commenced operation and the associated development centered around Soka Station formed the basis of modern Soka which officially became the 21st city in Saitama Prefecture with the amalgamation of Soka Town Yatsuka Town and Shinden Village on November 1, 1958.