Shirakawa, Fukushima

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Shirakawa
白河市
City
View of Komine Castle in Shirakawa
View of Komine Castle in Shirakawa
Flag of Shirakawa
Flag
Location of Shirakawa in Fukushima Prefecture
Location of Shirakawa in Fukushima Prefecture
Shirakawa is located in Japan
Shirakawa
Shirakawa
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 37°7′N 140°12′E / 37.117°N 140.200°E / 37.117; 140.200Coordinates: 37°7′N 140°12′E / 37.117°N 140.200°E / 37.117; 140.200
Country Japan
Region Tōhoku
Prefecture Fukushima Prefecture
Government
 • Mayor Hideo Narui
Area
 • Total 305.30 km2 (117.88 sq mi)
Population (October 1, 2011)
 • Total 64,194
 • Density 210/km2 (540/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
Symbols
- Tree Japanese Red Pine
- Flower Ume
- Bird Emberiza cioides
Address 7-1 Hachimankōji, Shirakawa, Fukushima
961-0941
Phone number 0248-22-1111
Website www.city.shirakawa.fukushima.jp

Shirakawa (白河市 Shirakawa-shi?) is a city located in the southern portion of Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

As of 2003, Shirakawa had an estimated population was 48,297 and a population density of 410.44 persons per km². The total area was 117.67 km2 (45.43 sq mi).

However, on November 7, 2005, after merging neighboring villages into its territory, the population increased to approximately 66,000, with a population density of 210 persons per km², and its area increasing to 305.30 km2 (117.88 sq mi).

History[edit]

Shirakawa was formerly known as the gateway to the old Mutsu Province of Japan. Up to the Edo period it had prospered under the control of the Shirakawa clan as a castle town. In the Heian period, monk and waka poet Nōin composed the following short poem about the region:

都をば霞とともに立ちしかど秋風ぞ吹く白河の関

Miyako wo ba kasumi to tomo ni tachishikado akikaze zo fuku Shirakawa no seki.

(English: I left the capital with the spring haze, but at the barrier of Shirakawa the autumn wind blows.

During the Meiji Period in 1889, the area was classified as the town of Shirakawa. On April 1, 1949, Shirakawa was made a city after merging with the neighboring village of Ōnuma.

Subsequent mergers occurred in 1954 and 1955 with the inclusion of the villages of Shirasaka, Odagawa, Goka and a portion of Omotegō into the territory of Shirakawa.

On November 7, 2005, the villages of Taishin, Higashi, and the remainder of Omotegō (all from Nishishirakawa District) were merged into Shirakawa.

Climate[edit]

Shirakawa has a humid subtropical climate (Köppen climate classification Cfa) with warm summers and cold winters. Precipitation is significant throughout the year, but is heaviest from May to October.

Climate data for Shirakawa, Fukushima
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 4.4
(39.9)
4.6
(40.3)
8.2
(46.8)
15.4
(59.7)
20.5
(68.9)
22.9
(73.2)
26.3
(79.3)
28.2
(82.8)
23.3
(73.9)
17.8
(64)
12.7
(54.9)
7.4
(45.3)
15.98
(60.75)
Daily mean °C (°F) −0.2
(31.6)
0.2
(32.4)
3.3
(37.9)
9.7
(49.5)
14.9
(58.8)
18.3
(64.9)
21.9
(71.4)
23.3
(73.9)
18.9
(66)
12.7
(54.9)
7.4
(45.3)
2.4
(36.3)
11.07
(51.91)
Average low °C (°F) −4.4
(24.1)
−3.9
(25)
−1.4
(29.5)
4.2
(39.6)
9.4
(48.9)
14.4
(57.9)
18.5
(65.3)
19.8
(67.6)
15.3
(59.5)
8.2
(46.8)
2.5
(36.5)
−2.1
(28.2)
6.71
(44.08)
Precipitation mm (inches) 29.0
(1.142)
43.3
(1.705)
67.7
(2.665)
99.2
(3.906)
112.6
(4.433)
177.7
(6.996)
162.9
(6.413)
200.9
(7.909)
191.1
(7.524)
116.3
(4.579)
63.5
(2.5)
33.4
(1.315)
1,297.6
(51.087)
Snowfall cm (inches) 24
(9.4)
30
(11.8)
18
(7.1)
3
(1.2)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
2
(0.8)
15
(5.9)
92
(36.2)
 % humidity 68 67 65 66 70 80 84 82 82 77 73 70 73.7
Mean monthly sunshine hours 164.6 154.2 187.4 182.9 196.8 131.7 129.2 156.2 111.3 144.0 144.8 156.4 1,859.5
Source: NOAA (1961-1990) [1]

City services[edit]

Shirakawa has four high schools, eight junior high schools, and fifteen elementary schools.

There are also nineteen post offices (including minor ones) within the boundaries of the city.[2]

Transportation[edit]

Rail[edit]

The city can be easily reached via Shirasaka, Shirakawa, and Kutano stations on the Tōhoku Main Line. Shin-Shirakawa Station, located in the neighbouring village of Nishigō, is also on the Tōhoku Shinkansen and provides fast access to Tokyo.

Road[edit]

Shirakawa can be accessed by the nearby Tohoku Expressway and National Routes 289 and 294.

Claims to fame[edit]

Residents point to the local variety of ramen as the town's main claim to fame. The main attractions of the town, aside from the restaurants, include Komine Castle (小峰城 Kominejō, literally "Small Peak Castle"?) and Nankō ("South Lake") Park.

Festivals held in Shirakawa include "Daruma Ichi", celebrating the traditional Daruma doll, wherein the city streets are packed with stalls selling Daruma, a variety of festival foods and charms, and "Chōchin Matsuri" (Lantern Festival), which is held each summer, with a special three-day celebration held once every three years.

Shirakawa is passed through in Oku no Hosomichi by Basho.

Shirakawa is the location of the village to which silk egg merchant Herve Joncour travels in the novel Silk by Alessandro Baricco, first published in 1997.

International relations[edit]

Twin towns – Sister cities[edit]

Shirakawa is twinned with:

References[edit]

External links[edit]