Itoigawa, Niigata

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Itoigawa City Hall
Itoigawa City Hall
Flag of Itoigawa
Official seal of Itoigawa
Location of Itoigawa in Niigata
Location of Itoigawa in Niigata
Itoigawa is located in Japan
Coordinates: 37°2′20.5″N 137°51′45.6″E / 37.039028°N 137.862667°E / 37.039028; 137.862667Coordinates: 37°2′20.5″N 137°51′45.6″E / 37.039028°N 137.862667°E / 37.039028; 137.862667
Country Japan
Region Chūbu (Kōshin'etsu) (Hokuriku)
Prefecture NIigata
 • Total 746.24 km2 (288.12 sq mi)
Population (June 2016)
 • Total 44,684
 • Density 59.9/km2 (155/sq mi)
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
• Tree Fagus crenata
• Flower Lilium japonicum
• Bird Common kingfisher
• Stone Jade
Phone number 025-552-1511
Address 1-2-5 Ichinomiya, Itoigawa-shi, Niigata-ken 941-8501
Hokuriku Expressway and Route 8 Oyashirazu coast

Itoigawa (糸魚川市, Itoigawa-shi) is a city located in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. As of 30 June 2016, the city had an estimated population of 44,684, and a population density of 59.9 persons per km². Its total area is 746.24 square kilometres (288.12 sq mi).[1]


Itoigawa is located in the far southwestern corner of Niigata Prefecture, bordered by the Sea of Japan to the north, Nagano prefecture to the south, and Toyama Prefecture to the west. Parts of the city are within the borders of the Chūbu-Sangaku National Park or the Myōkō-Togakushi Renzan National Park. Itoigawa is also famous for its jade which can be found on local beaches. Itoigawa also lends its name to the Itoigawa-Shizuoka Tectonic Line, a major fault that runs from Itoigawa, through Lake Suwa to the city of Shizuoka in Shizuoka Prefecture, forming the western border of the Fossa Magna.

Surrounding municipalities[edit]


The area of present-day Itoigawa was part of ancient Echigo Province. Historically, Itoigawa lies at the end of the famous shio no michi (salt road) that supplied salt to ancient Edo (Tokyo) via Shinano Province. During the Edo period, Itoigawa was the castle town for Itoigawa Domain. After the Meiji restoration, Itoigawa became a town within Nishikubiki District, Niigata.

The modern city was created on June 1, 1954. On April 1, 2005, the towns of and Ōmi (both from Nishikubiki District) were merged into Itoigawa.

Oldest known jadeite-using culture[edit]

A great many jadeite beads and axe heads as well as the remains of jadeite workshops from the Neolithic era have been uncovered in Itoigawa. These beads and axes were traded throughout Japan and the Korean Peninsula and were produced by the world's oldest known jadeite-using culture, centered on the Itoigawa region.[2][3]


Commercial fishing and the production of limestone and cement are the mainstays of the local economy.


Itoigawa has seventeen public elementary schools and four public middle schools. There are three public high schools, and also two special education schools.




Local attractions[edit]

  • The entire territory of Itoigawa is "Itoigawa Global Geopark" which is a member of the Japanese Geoparks Network and Global Geoparks Network on account of its outstanding geological heritage, educational programs and projects, and promotion of geotourism.[4]
  • The city is known for its distinctive black-colored yakisoba.[5]
  • Itoigawa is also known for its unique bugaku, a variety of traditional Japanese performance art. Itoigawa Bugaku can be seen at festivals taking place at Hakusan Shrine and Amatsu Shrine, and has been nationally designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Asset.

Noted people from Itoigawa[edit]

  • The poet Ryōkan (1758-1831) writes that Itoigawa is his former village.[6]


  1. ^ "糸魚川市人口及び世帯表" (PDF). Itoigawa City. July 2016. Retrieved 31 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Kijima, Tsutomu. "翡翠製大珠の加工と流通" (in Japanese). 
  3. ^ "International Jomon Culture Conference Bulletin 1 2004 (English version)". Retrieved 2016-06-30. 
  4. ^ Itoigawa Global Geopark
  5. ^ Trautlein, Steve, "The chow-down tour of Kanto's local dishes", Japan Times, 24 August 2012, p. 15
  6. ^ One Robe, One Bowl; the Zen poetry of Ryokan. transl. John Stevens. 9th Ed. John Weatherhill, Inc., Tokyo. 1988.

External links[edit]