Kashiwa-no-ha is blessed with lush greenery, and yet it is also close to Tokyo. The ties between Mitsui and Kashiwa-no-ha stretch back to the turbulent times of the Meiji Restoration more than 140 years ago. Starting with the area’s history and location, we overview the towns around Kashiwa-no-ha as well as the connections with Mitsui Fudosan. We will continue striving to create an exciting new future.
The Shimosa Plateau, now home to Kashiwa-no-ha, was a famous horse-breeding area since early times. Throughout the Edo era (1603–1867), the horse paddocks were directly under the control of the Tokugawa Shogunate. Kashiwa-no-ha once belonged to a paddock named Koganemaki.
After the Meiji Restoration, the government abolished Koganemaki and promoted settlement and agriculture there. The central figure in that endeavor was Mitsui Hachiroemon Takayoshi, the eighth head of the Mitsui clan. He became president of a land reclamation company and supported the area by building schools and shrines and undertaking other development. Chiba Prefecture thereafter named each reclaimed property based on when groups settled, adding numerical suffixes to location names. Kashiwa City still retains some of that nomenclature; examples include Toyoshiki, which means “fourth,” and Toyofuta to indicate “12th”.
The eighth head of the Mitsui clan worked after the Edo era for reforming the domestic economy, which had encountered financial difficulties after the Tempo period (1830–1844). He overcame great political difficulties during the transition to the Meiji Restoration in launching the Mitsui Bank and Mitsui & Co., which became foundations of the Mitsui financial clique. He also exerted himself in public businesses, leading cultivation at Koganemaki.
After the Korean War erupted, the United States Air Force built a communications base on an area of 188 hectares around where the current campus of The University, of Tokyo, Chiba University and Chiba Prefecture's Kashiwa-no-ha Park are located. In 1961, Mitsui Fudosan opened Kashiwa Golf Club. The Japanese economy was booming at the time. For 40 years until the club closed in 2001, numerous golfers loved to play at this prestigious facility. In 1979, when the United States Air Force returned the entire property, the area made a fresh start as a new town.
In 2001, Kashiwa City began a Land Readjustment Project based on an urban planning project at the 273-hectare Kashiwa-no-ha area. In 2005, the Tsukuba Express began operating and the Kashiwa-no-ha Campus Station was built. The convenient access ushered in a new period for Kashiwa-no-ha. In 2008, Chiba Prefecture, Kashiwa City, the University of Tokyo, and Chiba University announced the Kashiwa-no-ha International Campus Town Initiative, spotlighting the area as a next-generation model city.
Kashiwa-no-ha is drawing on public, private, and academic sector partnerships to constantly renew itself as a next-generation model city and a leading-edge center for academic experiments. The Mitsui Fudosan Group will continue to participate in urban planning as a private business.
Since building Japan's first skyscraper, the Kasumigaseki Building in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, the Mitsui Fudosan Group has continued to engage in innovative urban development, answering the needs of the society of the time. Key achievements have included Okawabata River City 21, a waterfront redevelopment in Chuo Ward, Tokyo. Another has been Tokyo Midtown in Minato Ward, Tokyo, which combines advanced facilities and gardens. The Mitsui Fudosan Group will leverage its smart city development DNA in the years ahead.