It is been a few months since I have posted one of my “Discover Ogaki” blogs, but in this one, rather than try to talk about something I learned, I actually have a question for all of you! So if anyone who is reading this knows the answer to my question at the end of the next paragraph, please let me know because I would truly love to learn the answer!
Because of the rivers and streams that wind through the city, there are literally hundreds of bridges throughout Ogaki. Most of the are very small, too small to even be noticed, but several of them are quite beautiful or have very interesting features. Perhaps I will dedicate another blog post or two to some of them in the future, but there is one particular bridge in Baba-cho that I am particularly curious about. First of all, when I first saw the name of the ward “Baba-cho” my first thought was “Really?!? This area is called ‘Grandma Town?!?’” But as soon as I saw that the kanji is “馬場町” I realized that in English it would mean “Horse Town”. I then noticed a bridge lined with oversized horse shoes linked by chains on either side of the road on the bridge, and horses in various poses embossed on brass plates placed on walls lining both sides the bridge. It made me wonder about how the area itself got named. Since names of places are often linked to a historical event, natural feature, or a man-made structure that used to be, or many even still be in the area, I am genuinely curious about how and why 馬場町 got named. Did there used to be horse stables or a horse training ground in the area? Given the close distance of the area to Ogaki Castle there may have been, but I don’t know. Was there was a horse farm there, or a horse trading post? I truly don’t know, but if any of you do, please let me know! I would love to find out!
Have you ever wondered about where the name of different places like rivers, cities, or even wards in city or town come from? I have often wondered about this from many different places I have visited. Sometimes it is easy to learn the answer from a historical sign located in the area, or possibly from a local story that is passed down through the residence of the area, or just a few clues due to the architecture of the local buildings or natural surroundings. Other times the name may just simply have been made up, or sadly, lost to history.
Keep having a great spring, and please tell me if you know the answer to my question! I would love to learn!