Hitachi, Ibaraki

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Hitachi
日立市
City
Flag of Hitachi
Flag
Location of Hitachi in Ibaraki Prefecture
Location of Hitachi in Ibaraki Prefecture
Hitachi is located in Japan
Hitachi
Hitachi
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 36°36′N 140°39′E / 36.600°N 140.650°E / 36.600; 140.650Coordinates: 36°36′N 140°39′E / 36.600°N 140.650°E / 36.600; 140.650
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Prefecture Ibaraki Prefecture
Government
 • Mayor Akira Yoshinari
Area
 • Total 225.55 km2 (87.09 sq mi)
Population (October 1, 2012)
 • Total 189,956
 • Density 842.19/km2 (2,181.3/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Symbols
- Tree Japanese zelkova
- Flower Sakura
- Bird Japanese Cormorant
- Fish Giant Pacific Octopus
Address 1-1 Sukegawa-chō, Hitachi-shi, Ibaraki-ken
317-8601
Phone number 0294-22-3111
Website www.city.hitachi.ibaraki.jp

Hitachi (日立市 Hitachi-shi?) is a city located on the Pacific Ocean coast in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan.

As of October 1, 2012, the city has an estimated population of 189,956, with 78,616 households and a population density of 842.19 persons per km². The total area is 225.55 km².

History[edit]

Since the 7th century, the original settlement was named Sukegawa (助川?).[citation needed] When it gained city status on 1 September 1939, Sukegawa was renamed Hitachi.

On November 1, 2004, the neighboring town of Jūō (from Taga District) was merged into Hitachi.

The name Hitachi is well known throughout the world due to the Hitachi company founded in the town of Sukegawa in 1910 by Namihei Odaira.

Urban Development[edit]

Heiwa Street with cherry blossom

Being a predominantly industrial city Hitachi was badly damaged in World War II, including shelling by the Iowa, and very few older buildings now remain in the downtown area. Industry continued after the war, and Hitachi was a small urban center for northern Ibaraki. Some factories have since closed, and Hitachi is now losing population, like much of Japan. Moreover, the downtown area, especially Ginza Dori, a busy pedestrianized shopping street into the 1990s, has experienced urban decay due to supermarkets and big box stores being built outside of downtown. Because of the increasing car traffic related to the urban sprawl, a bypass around central Hitachi was built, destroying a local beach.

Nevertheless, the city is not without interesting local sites. Like many Japanese cities, many of the public spaces are dedicated to symbolising the struggle for peace in the post-war world. It is in this spirit that one must consider Heiwa Dori (Peace Street). Every April there is a major procession down the broad tree-lined boulevard to celebrate the arrival of the cherry blossom season (Sakura Matsuri). Giant colourful floats called furyumono are carried by the local people. Hitachi also has a small zoo on the nearby Mount Kamine and an impressive Civic Center complex near the main station.

Transportation[edit]

Hitachi is located on the Joban Line and Joban Expressway which connect it south to Mito and Tokyo, north to Iwaki and Sendai. The closest airport is Ibaraki Airport, while Fukushima Airport is also close.

Due to the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011, the northern terminus of the coastal route has been Hirono.

Sister cities[edit]

Attack on Hitachi during WWII[edit]

Hitachi was an important military target in the war efforts against Japan during WWII. This was because Hitachi was a major industrial center, which contained 6 factories for the production of electrical equipment. It also had a copper mine that contained 1/10 of all of Japan's copper. The attack was meant to destroy industries and decrease Japan's recuperative potential. It took place on July 19, 1945 when the battleships USS Iowa (BB-61). USS Missouri (BB-63), and USS Wisconsin (BB-64) bombarded the city. Of the city's 1.38 Sq. Miles at the time, 64.5% of Hitachi was destroyed.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sister Cities". Tauranga City Council. Retrieved December 17, 2008. 
  2. ^ "USS Iowa History - World War II". Pacific Battleship Center. Retrieved September 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]