Beach at Onjuku
Location of Onjuku in Chiba Prefecture
|• Total||24.92 km2 (9.62 sq mi)|
|Population (April 2012)|
|• Density||308/km2 (800/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|Address||1522 Saga, Onjuku-machi, Chiba-ken
|Website||Town of Onjuku|
Onjuku (御宿町 Onjuku-machi?) is a town located in Isumi District, Chiba, Japan. As of April 2012, the town has an estimated population of 7,628 and a population density of 308 persons per km². The total area is 24.92 km². The name of the town is made of two kanji, the first meaning “honorable”, and the second meaning “residence”.
Onjuku is located on the east coast of southern Chiba Prefecture in approximately the center of the outer coast of the Bōsō Peninsula. The landscape consists of rolling, sandy hills of the Bōsō Hill Range, and the town is noted for its beach resorts. Its broad beaches are protected as part of the Minami Bōsō Quasi-National Park.
Onjuku is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east, and enjoys a temperate maritime climate, with short, cool winters and hot, humid summers due to the effects of the Kuroshio Current offshore. Onjuku faces Ajiro Bay, which has two functional ports: the Port of Iwawada to the north, and the Port of Onjuku to the south. One small river, the Kiyomizu River, flows through the town to Ajiro Bay.
Onjuku, from the Muromachi to the Edo period, was divided into a complex mixture of administrative areas. Much of the town was tenryō territory ruled by various hatamoto on behalf of the Shogun. The town was typically associated with administrators from the Ōtaki and Iwatsuki domains. In the Edo period a prominent “rokusai’ichi” (六斎市) market, or open-air market held on fixed days six times a month, developed in Onjuku.
Landing of Rodrigo de Vivero
In 1609 a Spanish galleon, the San Francisco, ran aground near Onjuku. The captain and 300 survivors were cared for by the town, and later, the sailors were given a ship by the Tokugawa Shogunate to return to Mexico. One of the survivors was Governor General of the Philippines Rodrigo de Vivero, who was subsequently granted an audience with Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu.
In 1928 a tower was built in Onjuku to commemorate the landing of Rodrigo and friendly relations between Mexico, Spain, and Japan. It has since been designated an Important Prefectural Monument (県指定史跡 (ken shitei shiseki?)), and is surrounded by an extensive garden complex.
The village of Onjuku was established on April 1, 1889, and elevated to town status on April 1, 1914. The town expanded through annexation of the neighboring villages of Fuse and Namihama on March 1, 1955.
The economy of Onjuku is dominated by summer tourism and commercial fishing; farming plays a relatively small role in the economy compared to nearby municipalities. Coast-side and off-shore fishing operations are active, with squid and bonito being the most important catches. Ama, or traditional women divers, gather abalone, turban shell (sazae), and spiny lobster, all important parts of the traditional Japanese diet.
The sandy beaches of Onjuku are the representative swimming areas of the Sotobōsō Coast and attract numerous tourists during the summer months. Tourism in the town began in the Meiji period, and development of the tourism industry continues. Numerous guests houses, ryokan (traditional Japanese inns), and hotels have developed in the area.
Due to the infrastructure and sandy beach with good surf conditions, the locality holds the yearly national surf carnival of the Japan Lifesaving Association, in which surf lifesavers gather from all clubs over the country. In 2013, the worldwide 2013 International Surf Rescue Challenge is held here.
Sister city relations
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