Iwanai, Hokkaido

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Iwanai from Niseko-Panorama Line.JPG
Flag of Iwanai
Official seal of Iwanai
Location of Iwanai in Hokkaido (Shiribeshi Subprefecture)
Location of Iwanai in Hokkaido (Shiribeshi Subprefecture)
Iwanai is located in Japan
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 42°58′44″N 140°30′33″E / 42.97889°N 140.50917°E / 42.97889; 140.50917Coordinates: 42°58′44″N 140°30′33″E / 42.97889°N 140.50917°E / 42.97889; 140.50917
Country Japan
Region Hokkaido
Prefecture Hokkaido (Shiribeshi Subprefecture)
District Iwanai
 • Mayor Yuji Kamioka
 • Total 70.64 km2 (27.27 sq mi)
Population (September 30, 2016)
 • Total 13,210
 • Density 190/km2 (480/sq mi)
 • Tree Sorbus commixta[1]
 • Flower Lespedeza
Time zone Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)
City hall address 134-1 Takadai, Iwanai, Iwanai-gun, Hokkaido
Website www.town.iwanai.hokkaido.jp

Iwanai (岩内町, Iwanai-chō) is a town located in Shiribeshi Subprefecture, Hokkaido, Japan.

As of September 2016, the town has an estimated population of 13,210. The total area is 70.64 km².


Iwanai is one of the oldest towns in the region. Unlike many Hokkaido towns, it predates the Meiji Restoration, having started as a seasonal fishing location c. 1450, and developing into a year-round village in the mid-18th century. (Its official founding date is 1751). Citizens of Iwanai whose families have been native for many generations have a peculiar "fisherman" accent to their Japanese, distinct to others living in the region. (Most Hokkaido citizens speak Kantō, or Tokyo region, dialect; their ancestors emigrated from the Kantō region in the late 19th century).

Unfortunately, a massive fire in 1954 destroyed most of the traditional buildings, as they were mostly wooden structures. Modern Iwanai is much more Western in style, although there are still extensive Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples intact or rebuilt in the traditional fashion. The town also has a large shrine festival held every July.[2]

  • 1897: Iwanai Subprefecture was established.
  • 1900: Iwanai Town became a First Class Town.
  • 1910: Iwanai Subprefecture was abolished and Shiribeshi Subprefecture was established in Kutchan.
  • 1954: A massive fire occurred.
  • 1955: Iwanai Town was merged with Shimano Village to form the new town of Iwanai.
  • 1985: Iwanai Line was abolished.


Iwanai is located on the western of the Shakotan Peninsula. A part of the town is in Niseko-Shakotan-Otaru Kaigan Quasi-National Park.

Neighboring towns[edit]


Today Iwanai still has a heavy fishing industry, along with farming in the local region. It also has skiing in winter. Although the local slopes are rougher than those of nearby Kutchan, the bay is visible from the slopes. The town is also well known in the region for its sushi restaurants.


  • High school
    • Hokkaido Iwanai High School[3]
  • Junior high school
    • Iwanai Daiichi Junior High School
    • Iwanai Daini Junior High School
  • Elementary school
    • Iwanai Nishi Elementary School
    • Iwanai Higashi Elementary School

Sister cities[edit]

Notable people from Imakane[edit]


External links[edit]