Location of Kurihara in Miyagi Prefecture
|• Mayor||Isamu Satō|
|• Total||804.93 km2 (310.79 sq mi)|
|Population (September 1, 2008)|
|• Density||95.7/km2 (248/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|- Tree||Kousa Dogwood|
|- Flower||Nikkōkisuge (Hemerocallis dumortieri var. esculenta)|
|Address||1-7-1 Tsukidate Yakushi, Kurihara-shi, Miyagi-ken
The modern city of Kurihara was established on April 1, 2005, from the merger of the towns of Ichihasama, Kannari, Kurikoma, Semine, Shiwahime, Takashimizu, Tsukidate, Uguisuzawa and Wakayanagi, and the village of Hanayama (all from Kurihara District). The new city hall is located at Tsukidate. Although technically referred to as a "city", Kurihara in fact functions more like a county composed of ten separate towns.
During the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, Kurihara was the only city to report the maximum value of 7 on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale.
Kurihara covers the entire northwestern corner of Miyagi Prefecture. It is mostly farmland, mostly rice fields, and small mountain ranges throughout, the largest of which cluster around Kurikoma-san, the tallest mountain in Kurihara located at the furthest northwestern point of Miyagi Prefecture.
Like most of Japan, the summers in Kurihara are hot and humid with temperatures usually around 30 Degrees Celsius. Summer is also typhoon season, however, since Kurihara is so far north and inland the area is rarely affected. The typhoons that do end up hitting the area are often mild without much consequence. Fall and spring are mild, with temperatures in the low to mid 20s (Celsius). In fall the days usually begin foggy and cold but clear up by midday. Spring comes late to the region since it is so far North and is mostly sunny punctuated with random light showers. Winter is the longest season in this Northern region. The temperature fluctuates around 0 Degrees Celsius, falling to an average low of -10 Degrees Celsius, and snow levels vary from town to town. Since Kurikoma and Hanayama towns are more mountainous their snowfall is significantly greater compared to Shiwahime and Tsukidate which are in flatter areas.
In summer, the lotus petals on Lake Izunuma bloom. In fall Mt. Kurikoma is covered in fall colors and in winter migrating swans and geese come in flocks to spend the season on Kurihara's lakes.
Sights to see
- Mt. Kurikoma is a dormant volcano straddling the tri-prefectural border of Miyagi, Akita and Iwate. It is 1627 meters high, conical, and has a 365 degree panoramic view. There is an abundance of diverse alpine flora in the wetlands near its peak and expansive virgin beech forests that are home to many precious birds, insects, and other fauna. There are extensive hiking trails with hot springs located at the base and top of the mountain.
Sekai Yachi Wetlands Flower Park:
- This 14.34-hectare wetlands area is situated in the southern foothills of Mt. Kurikoma, between 669 and 707 meters above sea level. Late June is the best time to see the Middendorff's daylilies. The flowering seasons are spring and summer.
Lake Izunuma and Lake Uchinuma:
- Izunuma once covered 420 hectares but was drained in the last century to just 289 hectares. It is the largest freshwater lake in Miyagi. Migrating birds including swans, geese, and ducks, winter here. It is also the site of the Miyagi Prefectural Sanctuary Center of Izunuma-Uchinuma which was created in order to protect the abundant plant and animal life in the area. Izunuma is home to 223 species of waterfowl, or 42% of Japan's 535 total water bird. Also, from late July to late August is when the Lotus flowers bloom and the Izunuma-Uchinuma Lotus Festival is held.
There are also a number of waterfalls, parks filled with cherry blossoms in spring, and flower gardens. These include: Abazu Gorge, Shiraito Falls, Gorindoyama Park, Hasama River Park, and Sanno Historic Park Iris Garden.
Kurihara is known for the rice it produces. It is also a renowned place for viewing the leaves change in Fall as Mt. Kurikoma gets some of the best fall colors. Kurihara also has an abundance of hot springs. These include: Yu no Kura Hot Spring, Yubama Hot Spring, Hanayama Hot Spring, and Nuruyu Hot Spring.
- Late March Tohoku Draft Horse Pull Kurikoma Tournament (Kurikoma)
- 1st Sun of April Obasama Festival and Longevity Rites (Kannari)
- Mid-April Izumiya Oyashiki Festival (Semine)
- April 29 Masaoka Festival (Ichihasama)
- Mid-April Cherry Blossom Festivals (all areas)
- May 5 Hanayama Rifle Festival (Hanayama)
- Mid-June Iris Festival (Ichihasama)
- Mid-June Ichihasama Lily Garden Opening (Ichihasama)
- 1st Sun of July Iris Festival and Kagura Sacred Dance (Ichihasama)
- 3rd Sun of July Michinoku Kagura Sacred Dance Festival (Tsukidate)
- Late July Kurikoma Float Parade Festival (Kurikoma)
- August Izunuma-Uchinuma Lotus Festival (Wakayanagi, Tsukidate)
- August 5–6 Tsukidate Tanabata Festival (Tsukidate)
- August 14 Waterwheel (Suisha) Festival (Shiwahime)
- August 15–16 Wakayanagi Summer Festival (Wakayanagi)
- Early October Autumn Lake Festival (Hanayama)
- Oct-Nov Tagaiichi Markets and Festivals
- November 3 Tsukidate Yakushi Festival
- Early Nov Industries Festival
- Dec-Feb Festivals to Beckon and Welcome Spring (all areas)
- Mid-Jan Donto Festivals (all areas)
- Tōhoku Shinkansen: Kurikoma-Kōgen (Shiwahime)
- Tōhoku Main Line: Semine, Arikabe
- Most of the former stations of the Kurihara Den'en Railway (decommissioned on March 31, 2007) were located in Kurihara: Ishikoshi - Aramachi - Wakayanagi - Yachihata - Ōokashōmae - Ōoka - Sawabe - Tsukumo - Sugihashi - Toyasaki - Kurikoma - Kurihara Tamachi - Omatsu - Uguisuzawa - Uguisuzawa Kōgyōkōkō Mae - Hosokura Mine Park Mae
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Kurihara.|
- Kurihara City official website (Japanese)