Hottoyuda Station on the JR Kitakami Line
Location of Nishiwaga in Iwate Prefecture
|• Total||590.78 km2 (228.10 sq mi)|
|Population (February 2014)|
|• Density||10.3/km2 (27/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|• Tree||Fagus crenata|
|• Flower||Erythronium japonicum|
|• Bird||Copper pheasant|
|Address||Kawajiri 40-jiwari 40-71, Nishiwaga-machi, Waga-gun, Iwate 029-5512|
Nishiwaga (西和賀町 Nishiwaga-machi?) is a town located in Waga District, Iwate, Japan. As of February 2014, the town had an estimated population of 6,067 and a population density of 10.03 persons per km2. The total area was 590.89 km2.
Nishiwaga is located in the far southwestern corner of Iwate Prefecture, in the river valley of the Waga River, surrounded by the 1000-meter peaks of the Ōu Mountains on three sides. The area is noted for its extremely heavy snowfall in winter.
- Iwate Prefecture
- Akita Prefecture
- Daisen, Akita
Nishiwaga was founded on November 1, 2005 from the merger of the town of Yuda and the village of Sawauchi. This merger occurred under pressure from the national government of Japan and in the face of steady but significant depopulating trends in rural Japan in general. The new town's name came as the result of a competition open to entries from all residents of the former Yuda Town and Sawauchi Village, in preparation for the merger. The final decision was made by a vote of representatives from both municipalities. The chosen name, literally "West-Waga Town," reflects the status of the new town as comprising the western portion of Waga District.
The local economy is based on agriculture and forestry, and seasonal tourism
Nishiwaga has many natural onsen hot springs ("yukko" in the local dialect). There are several natural hot springs baths operated by the municipality, and inexpensive monthly passes are available to residents. There is also a hot spring heated sand bath ("suna-yukko") at one of the sites. Many traditional bed and breakfast inns operate in these areas, usually with their own private hot spring facilities, some of which are open to day visitors for a fee. The area is also home to rare old-growth beech forests found in few other places in Japan. The Waga River, a major tributary of the Kitakami River and from which the county and current town derive their names, originates high up in the folds of Waga-dake, a 1,440 meter peak along the Ou Range which forms the prefectural boundary between Iwate Prefecture (on the eastern, Nishiwaga side) and Akita Prefecture (to the west). The mountains of Nishiwaga Town have drawn interest from local hikers and outdoors enthusiasts, as well as hikers and ecotourists from as far away as Tokyo. In the southeastern section of Nishiwaga Town the Waga River is restrained by the Yuda Dam, which creates a variable depth man-made lake called Kinshuko Lake.
Media related to Nishiwaga, Iwate at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website (Japanese)