Location of Ajigasawa in Aomori Prefecture
|• Total||343.08 km2 (132.46 sq mi)|
|Population (September 2015)|
|• Density||29.4/km2 (76/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|• Flower||Rosa rugosa|
|• Bird||Japanese bush-warbler|
|Address||209 Honcho, Ajigasawa-machi, Nishitsugaru-gun, Aomori-ken 038-2792|
Ajigasawa (鰺ヶ沢町 Ajigasawa-machi?) is a town located in Nishitsugaru District of Aomori Prefecture in the northern Tōhoku region of Japan. As of September 2015, the town had an estimated population of 10,085 and a population density of 29.4 persons per km2. Its total area was 343.08 square kilometres (132.46 sq mi).
Ajigasawa occupies the southwestern corner of Aomori Prefecture on the border with Akita Prefecture, facing the Sea of Japan to the north, and Mount Iwaki to the east. The town has a cold maritime climate characterized by cool short summers and long cold winters with heavy snowfall.
The area around Ajigasawa was controlled by the Nambu clan of Morioka Domain during the Edo period. Oura Mitsunobu, the founder of the Tsugaru clan, settled in Tanesato (now part of Ajigasawa) in 1491, which developed into a port for the Tsugaru region. Ajigasawa became a village in the Nishitsugaru District in 1889, and was elevated to town status on March 31, 1955, by annexing the neighboring villages of Akaishi, Nakamura, Narusawa and Maido.
The economy of Ajigasawa is heavily dependent on agriculture (rice and horticulture) and on commercial fishing. The most commonly caught animal is squid. Other commonly caught species in the local waters are Japanese flounder, Japanese horse mackerel, Atka mackerel, red snapper, cod, angler fish, octopus, sharks and salmon.
For the 2014-2015 school year, there were a total of six kindergartens with a total of 238 students; two elementary schools with 390 students; one junior high school with a total of 328 students and one high school with 273 students.
The Shirakami Nature School is a non-profit organization that is housed in a 19th-century wooden building that was used as an elementary school until the spring of 2003. The Shirakami Nature School hosts a wide variety of environmental education including classroom activities and open-air classes to people of all ages.
Points of interest
- The Kikuya squid stand on the outskirts of town is the home of Wasao, an Akita dog that garnered nationwide attention after starring in a 2011 feature film which was filmed on location in the town.
- NAQUA Shirakami Ski Resort allows both skiing and snowboarding. There are 4 chairlifts and 1 gondola to accommodate for 14 courses. Ski/snowboard school is open to all ages and has rental equipment. The resort also offers four room types, two restaurants, an indoor/outdoor hot-spring, exercise facility, outdoor climbing playground and a 36-hole golf course.
- Ajigasawa Beach is about a ten-minute walk from the train station and has both grass and sand areas with an incredible view of the Sea of Japan.
- Umi No Eki “Wando” is a collection of stores, much like a market, that sells local goods directly from the farmers and fishermen. The products sold here are all local, and very fresh.
- The Indoor Heated Pool is located near the Ajigasawa High School and is only a short distance from the train station. The Facility includes a Japan Swimming Federation regulation-sized swimming pool (25 meters in length, 8 lanes wide), a baby pool with an approximate depth of 0.75 meters, an outdoor pool, a water slide, men and women saunas, a training room, conference rooms and a gallery.
- Shirakami-Sanchi – UNESCO World Heritage Site
- Otaka-yama park is open to the public and includes a multipurpose stadium, tennis courts, amphitheater, go-carts and an elaborate playground.
- Kurokuma Falls (くろくまの滝 Kurokuma no taki?), gets its name from its appearance, it looks like a standing black bear. It is listed as number 7 in the Japan’s Top 100 Waterfalls.
Noted people from Ajigasawa
- Mainoumi Shuhei – sumo wrestler
- "International Exchange". List of Affiliation Partners within Prefectures. Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR). Retrieved 21 November 2015.
Media related to Ajigasawa, Aomori at Wikimedia Commons