Okushiri Island

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Native name: 奥尻島, Okushiri-tō
Okushiri Island Relief Map, SRTM.jpg
Relief Map
Hokkaido Okushiri-town.png
Location of Okushiri off Hokkaido
Location East Asia
Coordinates 42°08′57″N 139°28′02″E / 42.14917°N 139.46722°E / 42.14917; 139.46722Coordinates: 42°08′57″N 139°28′02″E / 42.14917°N 139.46722°E / 42.14917; 139.46722
Archipelago Japanese archipelago
Area 142.97 km2 (55.20 sq mi)
Length 27 km (16.8 mi)
Width 11 km (6.8 mi)
Coastline 84 km (52.2 mi)
Highest elevation 584 m (1,916 ft)
Highest point Mount Kamui
Prefectures Hokkaidō
Subprefectures Hiyama Subprefecture
District Okushiri District
Population 3343 (2009-03-31)
Pop. density 23.4 /km2 (60.6 /sq mi)
Ethnic groups Japanese

Okushiri Island (奥尻島, Okushiri-tō) is an island in Hokkaidō, Japan. It has an area of 142.97 square kilometres (55.20 sq mi). The town of Okushiri and the Hiyama Prefectural Natural Park encompass the entire island. It has many sheep pastures and beech forests. There are several schools, including high, junior high, and elementary. Okushiri currently has no colleges or universities.

The name Okushiri comes from the Ainu name I-kus-un-sir (イクㇱウンシㇼ). The phonetic word ikus(un) means other side and sir means island.[1][2] However, the Japanese meaning of the two kanji used for the name mean "wife's hips" or "wife's buttocks".


Okushiri has been struck by several natural disasters, the 1983 Sea of Japan earthquake on 26 May 1983 which killed two,[3] and the more deadly 1993 Hokkaidō earthquake and tsunami on 12 July 1993.[4] The 1993 earthquake had a magnitude of 7.7 on the moment magnitude scale and a maximum felt intensity of VIII (Severe) on the Mercalli intensity scale. It triggered a major tsunami that caused deaths on Hokkaidō and in southeastern Russia, with a total of 230 fatalities recorded. Okushiri was hardest hit, with 165 casualties from the earthquake, tsunami and a large landslide.[5] The tsunami inundated large parts of Okushiri, despite its tsunami defenses.[6] The island subsided by 5–80 centimetres (2.0–31.5 in).[5] After the tsunami, the number of residents slowly declined, and continues to do so.


Okushiri Airport serves the island. There are also two ferries that frequently arrive at the island.

Tourist Activities[edit]

Okushiri Island is known for its famous "Okushiri Arch," a small rocky arch sculpted by the ocean. Okushiri Island has many hot springs, and opportunities for fishing and swimming. The Okushiri Moonlight Marathon was started in 2013. It is the largest attraction on Okushiri Island for visitors, and attracts runners from around Japan and some foreign countries. The race starts at 3 pm and often finishes as it is getting dark. Local villagers turn out in large numbers to cheer on the runners. At the finish line, the race concludes with a seafood banquet and awards ceremony. https://www.fitjapan.com/events/2587/okushiri-moonlight-marathon/


  1. ^ "アイヌ語地名リスト" (PDF) (in Japanese). Hokkaido Prefecture. p. 24. Retrieved 2015-01-28. 
  2. ^ "About location and geography of Okushiri-cho". Official Home Page of Okushiri Town. Okushiri Town. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  3. ^ Murata, Susumu (2010). Tsunami: To Survive from Tsunami. World Scientific. pp. 71–73. ISBN 978-981-4277-47-1. Retrieved 5 May 2014. 
  4. ^ Hirata, Yuzuki; Masakazu Murakami (November 16, 2006). "Island hit by 1993 killer tsunami remains vigilant". The Japan Times. Retrieved 25 June 2009. 
  5. ^ a b NGDC. "Comments for the Significant Earthquake". Retrieved 6 November 2010. 
  6. ^ NGDC. "Comments for the Tsunami Event". Retrieved 6 November 2010.