Ōfunato, Iwate

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Ōfunato
大船渡市
City
Ōfunato City Hall
Ōfunato City Hall
Flag of Ōfunato
Flag
Official seal of Ōfunato
Seal
Location of Ōfunato in Iwate Prefecture
Location of Ōfunato in Iwate Prefecture
Ōfunato is located in Japan
Ōfunato
Ōfunato
 
Coordinates: 39°4′N 141°43′E / 39.067°N 141.717°E / 39.067; 141.717Coordinates: 39°4′N 141°43′E / 39.067°N 141.717°E / 39.067; 141.717
Country Japan
Region Tōhoku
Prefecture Iwate
Area
 • Total 323.30 km2 (124.83 sq mi)
Population (February 2014)
 • Total 38,616
 • Density 119/km2 (310/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Pine
- Flower Camellia
- Bird Black-tailed Gull
Phone number 0192-27-3111
Address 15, Sakarichō Aza Utsunosawa, Ōfunato-shi, Iwate-ken 022-8501
Website Official website
Ofunato port, 2006

Ōfunato (大船渡市 Ōfunato-shi?) is a city located in Iwate Prefecture, Japan. As of February 2014, the city had an estimated population of 38,616 and a population density of 119 persons per km². The total area was 323.30  km².

Geography[edit]

Ōfunato is located in southeastern Iwate Prefecture, facing the Pacific Ocean. Outside its bay, the warm and cold ocean currents meet, which allow a fishing industry to flourish. The city has been trying to establish itself as a major shipping port and receives regular visits by international freight ships. Kaminari-iwa on the city's Goishi coastline has been designated one of the 100 Soundscapes of Japan. Much of the city is within the borders of the Sanriku Fukkō National Park.

Climate[edit]

Ōfunato has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfa) bordering on a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with warm summers and cold winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year, but is heaviest from August to October.

Climate data for Ōfunato, Iwate
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.1
(39.4)
4.3
(39.7)
7.5
(45.5)
13.5
(56.3)
18.5
(65.3)
21.3
(70.3)
24.5
(76.1)
26.9
(80.4)
23.0
(73.4)
18.2
(64.8)
12.7
(54.9)
7.1
(44.8)
15.13
(59.24)
Daily mean °C (°F) 0.4
(32.7)
0.5
(32.9)
3.2
(37.8)
8.8
(47.8)
13.6
(56.5)
17.3
(63.1)
20.8
(69.4)
23.0
(73.4)
19.0
(66.2)
13.4
(56.1)
8.1
(46.6)
3.2
(37.8)
10.94
(51.69)
Average low °C (°F) −3.2
(26.2)
−3.3
(26.1)
−1.0
(30.2)
3.9
(39)
8.8
(47.8)
13.6
(56.5)
17.7
(63.9)
19.8
(67.6)
15.3
(59.5)
8.7
(47.7)
3.4
(38.1)
−0.7
(30.7)
6.92
(44.44)
Precipitation mm (inches) 45.7
(1.799)
61.4
(2.417)
86.6
(3.409)
141.6
(5.575)
149.7
(5.894)
154.0
(6.063)
165.3
(6.508)
197.6
(7.78)
194.5
(7.657)
138.7
(5.461)
99.6
(3.921)
44.3
(1.744)
1,479
(58.228)
Snowfall cm (inches) 12
(4.7)
19
(7.5)
10
(3.9)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
7
(2.8)
49
(19.3)
 % humidity 62 63 63 67 72 80 84 82 80 74 68 64 71.6
Mean monthly sunshine hours 153.6 146.1 176.1 177.2 208.4 163.7 151.4 165.5 124.9 154.1 138.9 140.1 1,900
Source: NOAA (1961-1990) [1]

Neighboring municipalities[edit]

History[edit]

The area of present-day Ōfunato was part of ancient Mutsu Province, and has been settled since at least the Jomon period. During the Sengoku period, the area was dominated by various samurai clans before coming under the control of the Nambu clan during the Edo period, who ruled Morioka Domain under the Tokugawa shogunate.

The modern village of Ōfunato was created within Kessen District, Iwate on April 1, 1889. The 1896 Meiji-Sanriku earthquake caused a 25 meter tsunami which killed 27,000 people in Sanriku. Ōfunato was elevated to town status on April 1, 1932. The 1933 Sanriku earthquake had a magnitude of 8.4 and caused a 28 meter tsunami which killed 1522 people.

The neighboring town of Sakari, and the villages of Akasaki, Takkon, Massaki, Ikawa and Hikoroichi merged with Ōfunato on April 1, 1952, forming the city of Ōfunato. The city became internationally famous when it was hit by a tsunami caused by the Valdivia earthquake in Chile May 22, 1960. On November 15, 2001, the town of Sanriku (from Kesen District) was merged into Ōfunato.

2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami[edit]

Downtown area of Ōfunato following the 2011 tsunami

Ōfunato hit the headlines yet again when it was heavily damaged in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[2] The wave is estimated to have reached 23.6 meters in height.[3] Funneled in by the narrow bay, the tsunami continued inland for 3 kilometres.[4] The town's theatre was one of very few buildings left standing (and remarkably, was undamaged) and gave shelter to about 250 survivors.[5][6] Provisional counts listed 3,498 houses out of 15,138 houses in the town destroyed by the tsunami and 305 lives were confirmed lost.[7][8] At least six of the town's 58 designated evacuation sites were inundated by the tsunami.[9] Ofunato was featured in the British documentary "Japan's Tsunami Caught on Camera" which was broadcast on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom.

Economy[edit]

The local economy is based on commercial fishing.

Education[edit]

Transportation[edit]

Railway[edit]

Highway[edit]

Port[edit]

Local attractions[edit]

International relations[edit]

Noted people from Ōfunato[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ofunato Climate Normals 1961-1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved December 29, 2012. 
  2. ^ Ofunato devastated by tsunami BBC report, 12 March 2011
  3. ^ 23.6-meter-high tsunami triggered by March 11 quake: survey Kyodo News, 23 March 2011
  4. ^ A thousand bodies a day will be recovered every day now The Age, 22 March 2011
  5. ^ Synopsis of a Channel 4 TV news bulletin on 15th March 2011
  6. ^ Tritten, Travis, J., and T. D. Flack, "U.S. rescue teams find devastation in northern city of Ofunato", Stars and Stripes, 15 March 2011, retrieved 16 March 2011.
  7. ^ NOAA tsunami data table
  8. ^ Gilhooly, Rob, "Survivors strive to start picking up the pieces", Japan Times, 27 March 2011, p. 7.
  9. ^ Kyodo News, "Tsunami hit more than 100 designated evacuation sites", Japan Times, 14 April 2011, p. 1.

External links[edit]

Media related to Ōfunato, Iwate at Wikimedia Commons