Ōtawara, Tochigi

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Location of Ōtawara in Tochigi Prefecture
Location of Ōtawara in Tochigi Prefecture
Ōtawara is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 36°52′N 140°1′E / 36.867°N 140.017°E / 36.867; 140.017Coordinates: 36°52′N 140°1′E / 36.867°N 140.017°E / 36.867; 140.017
Country Japan
Region Kantō
Prefecture Tochigi Prefecture
 • Mayor Tomio Tsukui
 • Total 354.12 km2 (136.73 sq mi)
Population (December 1, 2009)
 • Total 77,954
 • Density 223.2/km2 (578/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
- Tree Ginkgo biloba
- Flower Chrysanthemum
- Fish Tokyo bitterling
Address 1-4-1 Honchō, Ōtawara-shi, Tochigi-ken
Phone number 0287-23-1111
Website City of Ōtawara

Ōtawara (大田原市 Ōtawara-shi?) is a city located in eastern Tochigi Prefecture, Japan; which is in the northern part of the Kantō region north of Tokyo. Otawara is approximately 40 kilometers north of Utsunomiya, the capital of Tochigi, and approximately 50 km east of the historic city of Nikkō. The city's name may also be spelled "Ohtawara" as indicated by the official city website.

As of December 1, 2009, the city has an estimated population of 77,954 and a population density of 223.2 persons per km². The total area is 354.12 km².


Ōtawara has an average temperature of 1.2 degrees Celsius in January up to 23.1 degrees Celsius in August and an annual average temperature of 12.5 degrees Celsius. Ōtawara averages approximately 158.7 centimeters of rainfall per year with the wettest months being June through September.


About 50% of Ōtawara is covered by rice fields with about 12% being mountains and forests. The elevation of Ōtawara is 217.76 meters.


The modern city was founded on December 1, 1954. Ōtawara Castle was built in 1545 and it prospered during the Edo period (1603-1867) as a castle town. Ōtawara Prefecture was born in 1871 and afterwards it was integrated into Tochigi Prefecture. The town was known as Ōtawara in 1889. On December 1, 1954, the town of Ōtawara and the villages of Chikasono and Kaneda combined to form Ōtawara City.


On December 31, 1954, part of Nozaki Town was merged into the city. On April 1, 1955, part of Nishinasuno Town merged with the city. On November 5, 1955, the town of Sakuyama merged into the city.

On October 1, 2005, the town of Kurobane, and the village of Yuzugami (both from Nasu District) were merged into Ōtawara City.

Cultural and historical assets[edit]

Entrance to Kōshin-ji in Ōtawara.

Otawara is home to several historical and cultural assets.

The oldest surviving example of writing in Japan is in Kasaishi Shrine (笠石神社). It dates to the 690s AD.

The Shino Kura Hall is a thatched roof style building dating to approximately the late 1850s or early 1860s, the end of the Edo Period. The Hall displays old equipment and other artifacts dating to that time period such as large carts, a foot threshing machine, a packsaddle, and a milk machine. The Hall also serves handmade soba noodles using home-grown buckwheat.

Also located in Otawara are several ancient samurai burial mounds dating to approximately 1692. Little is know specifically of the samurai who are buried there however.

The local performing arts center for Ōtawara and the nearby city of Nasushiobara is called Harmony Hall where concerts and theater performances are held.

There are three libraries in the Otawara City library system, the Tabara Hiroshi Library, Kurobane Library, and the Yudukami Library.

Sports and recreation[edit]

The largest sporting event the city hosts is the Tabara Hiroshi Marathon which is held annually on November 23, Labor Day. There are ten golf courses in the Ōtawara area. The golf courses include both public courses and private country clubs such the New St. Andrews Golf Club which is a Jack Nicklaus design course. Otawara has a large sports and recreation complex called the North Tochigi Prefecture Gymnasium. The gymnasium has a main arena for general sports and cultural events and includes two basketball and three volleyball courts, 10 badminton courts, 20 ping-pong tables, one handball court, 10 tennis courts, two wrestling and karate rings. The arena can seat up to 1,500 spectators. In addition, there is a separate smaller arena, martial arts area, and training rooms. Several other gymnasiums, community pools, and sports fields are located throughout the Otawara area.


Tōbu department store

The city is home to corporations such as Toshiba Medical Systems Corporation which sells medical equipment worldwide including CT Scans and other medical imaging equipment and Mochida Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. which specializes in the sales of pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and skincare products. Tochigi Nikon Corporation, a member of the Nikon Group that designs and manufactures optical products, electronic imaging equipment, semiconductor manufacturing equipment and optical lenses, is also located in Ōtawara.

A Tōbu department store lies a kilometer away from the city hall. There are also several clothing stores, electronics store, home improvement stores, grocery stores, and numerous restaurants.


The city has 23 municipal elementary schools and 12 municipal junior high schools as well as a common prefectural high school. The International University of Health and Welfare is located in Ōtawara. The university was established in 1995, with the aim of training experts in the field of health and welfare.


Railway stations


Ōtawara is accessed via the Nishinasuno-Shiobara interchange of the Tōhoku Expressway. National Route 400 runs through the city.


Nozaki Station on the Tōhoku Main Line is the only railway station that lies within the city limits; the most-used stations are Nishi-Nasuno Station on the Tōhoku Main Line and Nasushiobara Station on the Tōhoku Shinkansen, both of which are in the neighboring city of Nasushiobara.

Sister cities[edit]

Noble peoples[edit]


External links[edit]