Kitakami River

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Kitakami River
The Kitakami River in Morioka
Mouth Pacific Ocean
Basin countries Japan
Length 249 km (155 mi)
Mouth elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Basin area 10,150 km2 (3,920 sq mi)
View of the Kitakami River looking north from the Takadachi Gekido in Hiraizumi, Iwate
The Kitakami river flowing through Kitakami, Iwate
View of the Kitakami River looking south in Tome, Miyagi

The Kitakami River (北上川 Kitakami-gawa?) is the fourth largest river in Japan and the largest in the Tōhoku region. It is 249 kilometres (155 mi) long and drains an area of 10,150 square kilometres (3,920 sq mi). It flows through mostly rural areas of Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures. The river is unusual in that it has two mouths, one flowing south into Ishinomaki Bay and the other flowing east into the Pacific Ocean, both in Ishinomaki City. Another unusual feature is that there are no dams from its mouth to the Shijūshida Dam north of Morioka. This allows for a spectacular salmon run every fall.


In Iwate Prefecture from north to south showing from which direction the water flows and the city where it empties into the Kitakami River.

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38°34′36″N 141°27′36″E / 38.576719°N 141.460111°E / 38.576719; 141.460111Coordinates: 38°34′36″N 141°27′36″E / 38.576719°N 141.460111°E / 38.576719; 141.460111 (mouth) 38°24′27″N 141°18′49″E / 38.407483°N 141.313667°E / 38.407483; 141.313667 (former mouth)