Hachinohe City Hall
Location of Hachinohe in Aomori Prefecture
|• - Mayor||Makoto Kobayashi|
|• Total||305.40 km2 (117.92 sq mi)|
|Population (April 1, 2012)|
|• Density||143/km2 (370/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|- Tree||Japanese yew|
|- Bird||Black-tailed gull|
|Address||1-1-1 Uchimaru, Hachinohe-shi, Aomori-ken 031-8686|
As of April 2012, the city has an estimated population of 235,434 and a population density of 771 persons per km2 (1,997 persons per sq. mi.). This makes it the second biggest city of Aomori prefecture. The total area is 305.40 km2 (117.92 sq mi).
The area around Hachinohe has been occupied since prehistoric times, and was a major population center for the Emishi people. Numerous Jomon period remains have been discovered within the borders of Hachinohe. The area was nominally under control of the Northern Fujiwara in the Heian period, and became part of the holdings granted to the Nanbu clan after the defeat of the North Fujiwara by Minamoto Yoritomo in the Kamakura period. The Nanbu established numerous horse ranches, accompanied by numbered fortified settlements. During the Edo period, it was initially part of Morioka Domain, but in 1664 the Tokugawa Shogunate authorized the creation of a separate 20,000 koku Hachinohe Domain for a branch line of the Nanbu clan. The town prospered as a castle town centered on Hachinohe Castle, and served as a small commercial centre and port for the fishing grounds off southeastern Hokkaido. Today, the port still serves the fishing industry and a number of international cargo vessels.
After the Meiji Restoration, Hachinohe Domain was abolished, and replaced by Hachinohe Prefecture, which was subsequently merged into Aomori Prefecture. Initially, there was a debate as to whether the capital of newly formed Aomori Prefecture should be at Hachinohe or Hirosaki; however, due to strong rivalry between the former Nanbu domain and former Tsugaru Domain, the Meiji government decided to build a new town called Aomori in a central location, and to designate it as the capital of the prefecture.
Per the reform of 1889, the town of Hachinohe was created within Sannohe District. In 1901, it merged with neighboring Choja, and on May 1, 1929 with neighboring Konakano, Minato and Same villages to form the city of Hachinohe. The city further expanded by annexing the village of Shimonaganawashiro in 1942, Korekawa in 1954, Ichikawa, Kaminaganawashiro, Tachi and Toyosaki in 1955 and Odate in 1958.
During the American occupation of Japan following World War II, a United States Army base, Camp Haugen, was located in Hachinohe, and was the home of the Seventh Division. An Armed Forces Radio Service radio station was located on the base; it was known as AFRS Hachinohe. In 1950, after the North Korean invasion of South Korea, troops from Camp Haugen left for Korea. AFRS Hachinohe altered its broadcasts to include coverage of South Korea so Americans could benefit from its news and entertainment programs.
In March 2011, the city was one of those hit by the 2011 Japanese tsunami. The tsunami tossed many huge fishing boats ashore and heavily damaged the port area. About 100 homes were destroyed. Divers from the United States Navy ship Safeguard joined with Japanese workers to help clear the port to facilitate the delivery of relief supplies via the city.
Hachinohe is the largest city in eastern Aomori Prefecture, and serves as the regional industrial and commercial center. Commercial fishing still plays a major role in the local economy, with Hachinohe port having one of the largest volumes of landed fish in Japan. However, since its designation as a new industrial city in 1964, Hachinohe has developed a large coastal industrial belt with a diverse range of chemical, steel, cement and fertilizer products. Major industrial parks include the Hachinohe High Tech Park and Hachinohe North-Interchange Industrial Complex. Hachinohe Port is a major international port for northern Japan.
Tourist attractions and festivals
The symbol of Hachinohe is the Yawata-uma, a wooden horse with gold saddle markings and a decorative plume attached to its head. The Hachinohe area has been known since the Kamakura period for its breed of war horses. Also, farming horses have supported the lives of the commoners and have often been used as the theme for dances and folk tales. The art of Yawata-uma figurines is a regional art form and popular souvenir.
Kabushima Shrine is a Shinto shrine which also serves as a habitat for forty thousand black-tailed gulls, or umineko. It is situated on the bayside. There is a festival there on the third Sunday of April each year.
Emburi is a city-wide festival which is also celebrated in nearby towns. The object of the festival is to pray for a bountiful harvest in the coming year. It originated as a dance with an agricultural tool (the eburi; enburi is a local pronunciation), which was used to teach people how to cultivate the land. Nowadays it is a parade of 15-20 people, with 3-5 dancers and a singer accompanied by wooden flutes, drums and bells. The festival takes place February 17–20, and marks the official end of the long, harsh winter.
Hachinohe Sansha Taisai is another city-wide festival and is considered to be the main festival of the town. It is also billed as "Japan's Biggest Float Festival". Sansha means "three shrines" and Taisai means "festival": It is held by three Shinto shrines: Ogami Jinja, Shinra Jinja, and Shinmei-gu. Floats proceed through the main streets of the city, accompanied by people with drums, flutes and loud calls. 27 different floats are used, and they are proudly constructed and flourished by the members of various organizations, such as schools and the city hall. The floats are also accompanied by men in samurai costumes on horseback, and tiger dancers. On the second and third days of the festival, a traditional game of a sport similar to polo is held at the stables of Shinra Shrine. This sport (加賀美流騎馬打毬 Kaga Biryū Kiba Dakyū) is officially an "intangible cultural asset" of Aomori Prefecture. Sansha Taisai takes place from July 31 to August 4 every year.
Hachinohe is located in the flatlands on the southeast coast of Aomori Prefecture, facing the Pacific Ocean. A portion of the coastal areas of the city were within the borders of the Tanesashi Kaigan Hashikamidake Prefectural Natural Park, which was incorporated into the Sanriku Fukkō National Park in 2013.
Hachinohe has a climate on the northern border of the humid subtropical zone that borders both on an oceanic climate and a humid continental climate. Summers are considerably milder than in other parts of Honshu because the city is very close to the open sea, whilst winters if distinctly cold are much less snowy than in Aomori city or Sapporo or Wakkanai, although snowfall is higher than in Kushiro.
|Climate data for Hachinohe (1981–2010)|
|Average high °C (°F)||2.6
|Average low °C (°F)||−4.2
|Average precipitation mm (inches)||42.8
|Average snowfall cm (inches)||77
|Average relative humidity (%)||70||70||67||65||71||81||83||82||79||73||70||70||73.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||130.8||129.6||168.1||188.9||197.0||167.7||148.5||167.1||143.6||161.3||133.3||124.5||1,860.4|
|Source: Japan Meteorological Agency|
- East Japan Railway Company
- Aoimori Railway
- Hachinohe Rinkai Railway (freight only)
- Japan National Route 45
- Japan National Route 104
- Japan National Route 340
- Japan National Route 454
- Hachinohe Expressway
Notable people from Hachinohe
- Saeko Chiba - voice actress
- Miki Furukawa - musician
- Kengo Hanazawa - manga artist
- Chiharu Icho - freestyle wrestler
- Kaori Icho - freestyle wrestler
- Masako Katsuki - voice actress
- Hitomi Obara - freestyle wrestler
- Marimo Ragawa - manga artist
Sister city relations
- Flack, T. D., "Misawa residents pull clean-up duty at nearby fishing port", Stars and Stripes, 17 March 2011, retrieved 18 March 2011.
- Johnson, Christopher, "U.S. Helps Clear Vital Japan Harbor", Washington Times, 27 March 2011, retrieved 30 March 2011.
- 基礎情報 [Basic Information] (in Japanese). Ministry of the Environment. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
- "National park of restoration". The Japan Times. 28 May 2013. Retrieved 22 October 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hachinohe, Aomori.|
|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Hachinohe.|