In the wake of the Meiji restoration, demand for coal skyrocketed throughout Japan as a crucial source of energy. It was among this backdrop that Wakamatsu prospered to become one of the country’s primary loading ports for coal produced from one of Japan’s most prolific coal producing regions, Chikuho. In Meiji Year 24 (1891), the railway connecting Wakamatsu and Nogata stations opened. Coal extracted from the Chikuho coal region was transported along the railway to Wakamatsu station, where it was transferred onto vessels before being shipped all throughout Japan. The coal loading operations at Wakamatsu attracted scores of ships and port workers, leading to a boom in companies involved in the coal trade. During this time, Wakamatsu flourished as a port city. The Wakamatsu-Minamikaigan (south shore) area became a popular entertainment district featuring over 100 traditional Japanese Ryotei restaurants, the remnants of which can still be witnessed today.