Ōarai town hall
Location of Ōarai in Ibaraki Prefecture
|• Total||23.74 km2 (9.17 sq mi)|
|• Density||709/km2 (1,840/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+9 (Japan Standard Time)|
|- Bird||Common gull|
|Address||6881-275 Isohamacho, Ōarai-machi, Higashiibaraki-gun, Ibaraki-ken 311-1392|
Ōarai (大洗町 Ōarai-machi) is a town located in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. As of September 2015, the town had an estimated population of 16,823, and a population density of 709 persons per km². Its total area is 23.74 km². The Japan Atomic Energy Agency operates a research center in Ōarai with a number of nuclear research reactors, including the Jōyō and High-temperature engineering test reactor facilities.
Located on the coast of central Ibaraki Prefecture, Ōarai is bordered by the Pacific Ocean to the east. The Naka River flows through the town. Ōarai and Sun Beach bathing beaches were first to introduce barrier-free bathing beaches for the disabled in Japan.
The villages of Isohama and Ōnuki within Higashiibaraki District and the village of Natsumi within Kashima District were created with the establishment of the municipalities system on April 1, 1889. Ōnuki was elevated to town status on January 26, 1894. Ōnuki and Isohama merged on November 3, 1954 to create the town of Ōarai. A portion of Natsumi was annexed by Ōarai on July 23, 1955.
Since 1998 the chief of a factory association in Oarai has invited Japanese descendants and migrants from North Sulawesi, Indonesia, to work for seafood industries. A majority of the Indonesians inhabitants was later arrested for being undocumented.
The nuclear industry and government largess form the basis of the local economy. Main agricultural products include rice, sweet potatoes and Japanese radish. Main fishery products include whitebait, sardines, flounder and clams. Marine food processing includes salted and dried horse mackerel, smelt and sardines and boiled octopus.
- Ōarai has two elementary schools, two middle schools and one high school.
- Port of Ōarai (A ferry company operates two ferries to Tomakomai, Hokkaidō, a day)
Ōarai attracts 3 million visitors a year. Tourist attractions include bathing beaches, yacht and cruiser marina, marine sports, camping site, fishing, aquarium, and a famous golf course. It is known for its monkfish.
- Oarai Beach
- Aqua World (formerly Oarai Aquarium)
- Oarai Marine Tower
- Oarai Sea Museum
- Oarai Museum of Art
- Oarai Museum of Bakumatsu-Meiji History
- "Kurumazuka-kofun" and "Kagamizuka-kofun"
- Ōarai Isozaki Jinja
In addition, the city has become an anime pilgrimage location due to being the setting for the popular franchise Girls Und Panzer, which pretty much every shop having some reference to the show somewhere.
Noted people from Ōarai
In popular culture
The main characters of the animated series Girls und Panzer study in a huge ship originally based in Ōarai. Real locations in the city are depicted faithfully, prompting fans to visit the town and giving a boost to local commerce.